The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello on Thursday revealed that 90 percent of the cargo coming into Nigeria are under-declared at the nation’s ports, rubbing the country of billions in revenue.
He made this known during a courtesy visit to the Acting Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), Dr Musa Abubakar in Abuja.
Bello noted that the importers connive with certain government officials to undervalue their goods to rob the Federal Government of revenue.
He said, “90 percent of the goods coming into Nigeria are under-declared. There is massive connivance to under-declare value of goods to pay lower duties. So government is losing a lot of money. There are so much leakages.”
Bello said to help curb this economic sabotage, the Council is introducing the cargo tracking note, a technology that will track all goods from their starting point till they reach their Nigerian ports.
He explained that with the technology, there will be no hiding place as all the value of the cargo will be known and no one can conceal goods at the ports.
Bello further said with the technology, the issue of illegal arms and dangerous goods will be tracked at the ports.
He said, “The amount of weapons and other illegal things coming in our seaports is alarming but with the advance tracking note, we can detect all the weapons.”
“Electronic payment will ensure that there is minimal human interface as this will reduce corruption at the ports.”
He said corruption at the Nigerian ports is robbing the nation of the huge economic potentials at the ports adding that with proper reforms, the ports can fund Nigeria’s budget.
“Once we reduce corruption at the ports, the impact will mean that more goods will come through our ports because we are in competition with other neighbouring ports. People prefer neighbouring ports because they are less corrupt and more efficient,” Bello said.
He also called for sustained collaboration with ICPC to enforce best practices at the ports.
The acting Chairman, ICPC, Dr Musa Abubakar welcomed more collaboration with the shippers’ council and promised to address the identified lapses in ports operations going forward.
Abubakar said, “I am happy that our previous collaboration has yielded positive result. We will continue to collaborate. We had discovered some lapses in the ports and have suggested ways to avoid them. But as time goes on, people will still create ways to benefit from the system so it is necessary to resuscitate that collaboration.”