SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 29 – The Minister of State forTransportation, Gbemisola Saraki, has described Nigerian ports as the most expensive in the West African sub-region.
A statement signed by Mr EricOjiekwe, Head, Press and Public Relations of the ministry, quoted the ministeras saying that the high cost of port operations in the country was occasionedby duplicity of functions by operators in the ports.
The minister spoke on Monday inAbuja, while receiving members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed CustomsAgents (ANLCA).
She said: “the high cost ofoperation has made it difficult for Nigeria to compete with other neighbouringcountries.
“Nigeria is supposed to be thebiggest player and the cheapest player but, unfortunately, we are not.
“But I assure you that changes willbe witnessed as we will soon be efficient and effective in our operations inthe country,” she said.
On Nigeria becoming dumping groundfor empty containers which had contributed to the Apapa gridlock, Saraki saidthe problem was not a hidden one.
She, however, assured Nigerians thatthe Federal Government, through the ministry, would soon unveil plans thatwould bring positive changes.
Saraki commended the organisationfor their commitment in bringing about changes in port operations.
She also urged them to always availthemselves for robust discussion as that was the only way the ministry couldascertain if policies were working or not.
Earlier, the National President ofthe association, Mr Iju Nwabunike, had said that the visit was to keep theminister abreast of happenings in the area she superintends.
“If the minister is better informed,it will guide her decision making while discharging her duties,” he said.
The president commended the ministryfor ensuring the revival and growth of the Council for Regulation of FreightForwarding in Nigeria.
He said that the association was insupport of the collection of Practioners’ Operating Fees (POF), adding that itwould help bring about improvement in the transport chain and the training oftheir members as professionals.
Nwabunike appealed to the ministerto ensure urgent repairs of the port access roads and facilitate automation oftransactions at the terminals to minimise human contacts, facilitate trade andguarantee ease of doing business