Usifoh blames sector’s challenges on inconsistent policies

The Chairman, Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Val Usifoh has identified policy summersault as one of the challenges confronting stakeholders in the maritime sector.

Speaking in Lagos on Monday, Usifoh said the development is partially responsible for the decline in the volume of import into the country.

He explained that the Federal Government’s policy on rice, automotive policy and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Foreign Exchange (FOREX) restriction on certain product make it difficult for stakeholders to plan ahead.

Usifoh, who is the former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (PCC) and pioneer Chairman of the Port Industry Anticorruption Standing Committee (PIACSC) said, “People need to plan ahead. Business should be predictable so that when you are making investment, medium or long term, you are sure of where you are going. Importation is on the low ebb, business is down for everybody and if it is down for the importer it is down for the ship owner. It is a global trend but we are feeling it more because we are import dependent in the economy. When people cannot predict where to move their investment, it will be difficult to programme.

“Before the auto policy came into effect, 80 percent of the Tokunbo (used) cars were coming to Nigeria and 20 percent go to Cotonue (Benin Republic) and all the second hand trucks were coming through Nigeria but after this policy, over half of the second hand vehicle business is going to Cotonue. The implication is that Nigeria ports have lost 50 percent of its second hand vehicle trade.”

He also advised the Federal Government to develop local industries as part of measures to boost enough supply before placing restrictions on certain imports.

Usifoh also said that implementation of the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) will not affect shipping operations in Nigeria negatively.

He said shipping is an international trade that requires movements from one part of the world to the other to keep obligations.

He explained that the policy might initially cause delays in financial transaction, adding that the Federal Government policy is designed principally to tackle corruption in the system.

  

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