The Mission Chief and Senior Resident, Representative for Nigeria African Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Amine Mati has described the state of roads and facilities used by the Nigeria Customs Service for its operations in Lagos seaport as poor and inefficient.
Mati said this while touring three Nigerian port terminals namely the APM Terminals, Greedview Development Terminal owned by Dangote Operations and the PTML. The tour of the ports was said to be part of compilation and publication of the IMF Economic Outlook Review for 2020.
The IMF representative, who was hosted by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, lamented the lack of single-window platform and absence of scanning machines at the seaports. He said that the visit was for the purpose of inspecting the port activities in order to determine the challenges, priorities and policies put in place by the Federal Government.
“We were able to discuss the port congestion and noted that the clearance time still remains challenging. We are trying to determine the different policies and priorities put in place, particularly the scanners.
“National single window is very important to accelerate the process. The roads outside the port are also important for efficiency. As trade is picking up, the port is an important aspect of the Nigerian economy, particularly in Lagos where the activity is,” Mati said.
Speaking on the IMF Economic Outlook review, Mati said the report is scheduled to be published after March 30. He emphasized the importance of the review to Nigeria, especially now that the country is facing economic challenges in diversification of source of revenue.
He also made mention of the fact that it was an annual practice for the organisation to carry out checks of the economy to determine the performance and challenges. According to Mati, Nigerian ports were the major port in North and Central African subregion as it attracted 40 to 60% of all the cargoes in the subregion.
Responding to Mati, Bello assured that the shippers’ council was working with the shipping companies to reduce the cost to about 30 per cent and that both parties would soon go into an agreement. He also said the challenges facing the ports would be addressed.