The Transport Minister, Senator Idris Umar, is billed to meet with terminal operators and other stakeholders in Lagos today, in continuation of his troubleshooting to resolve the issue of congestion and others assailing the system presently.
Umar, it would be recalled, had toured the Lagos ports last Friday, and had spent the weekend in Lagos meeting with stakeholders over the issues at the ports.
Today’s meeting is clearly an interventionist effort by the Minister to arrest the situation from worsening, following strong indications that the committee he set up to address and proffer solution to the problem of congestion and other ports issues may end up like past committees that failed to execute their briefs to address the problems identified.
As exclusively reported by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, the Minister had last Friday set up the committee, which is headed by the Executive Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Engr. David Omonibeke, after an inspection tour of the Lagos ports to resolve problems of cargo clearance.
The committee, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered, reconvened Wednesday, as after it met on Monday and Tuesday, but could not reach a consensus as the sitting ended inconclusively, with attendees almost coming to fisticuffs during the session.
An authoritative source had informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY at the end of the Wednesday meeting, which had representatives of shipping companies, terminal operators, cargo scanning service providers and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in attendance, that the committee could not reach a consensus and thereby could not draft a resolution, which would have been presented to the Minister, due to alleged clash of of interests and insincerity among members of the committee.
The sitting, according to the source, almost ended in chaos, as each party allegedly engaged in trading blames over the issues that inspired the setting up of the committee.
The source said: “This (committee) might end up like another tea party committee if expedient action is not taken by the committee to address this problem of congestion and fashion out resolutions to the minister, especially now that we are in the ’ember months when import volume will rise.”
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