Vice President Namadi Sambo on Friday said that the turn around time of ships has improved tremendously in Nigerian ports.
Sambo said this in a message to the 60th anniversary celebration and commissioning of the permanent secretariat of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in Lagos.
He said that ships now spent less time at the nation’s ports.
The vice president, whose message was delivered by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Maritime Services, Mr Olugbenga Oyewole, also said the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports was no longer high.
“The introduction of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had assisted in reducing the time which ships spent while waiting to discharge cargoes.
“The cooperation of customs and other government agencies led to the tremendous change in port operations.
“This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that clearing agents will be moved out of the ports,” Oyewole said.
He said the NCS was tasked to recover N1.2 trillion out of N4 trillion expected to be generated from all government’s revenues in 2014.
He urged the management of the NCS to recognise and regulate the activities of ship chandlers at the port.
Chandlers are a group of people that supply all the needs of ships.
The Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, who was also represented by Alhaji Tahiru Bala, the Senior Special Assistant on Marine Operations in the Ministry of Transport commended ANLCA for the effective role it played in the establishment of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
He said the celebration of 60 years by the association was a landmark achievement, adding that the Federal Government was aware of its contribution to revenue collection.
Umar commended the efforts of ANLCA in achieving the Transformation Agenda of Mr President.
In his speech, the Comptroller-General of Customs said that the 60th anniversary of ANLCA indicated that the association had come of age as a strong institution in the trade facilitation chain.
“The commissioning of the association’s permanent secretariat also symbolises its bold determination to establish the association as a professional body.
“The NCS wishes to identify with you on this occasion and reaffirm our commitment to partner with you in attaining professionalism.
“We note with satisfaction the cooperation which customs has enjoyed from ANLCA over the years, particularly under the leadership of Prince Olayiwola Shittu,” Dikko said.
The NCS boss said the service had recorded tremendous progress in the implementation of its six-point agenda.
He said so far, the NCS had trained over 15,000 Customs officers in core areas of customs operations on tariff classification, valuation, enforcement and e-Customs.
Going down memory lane on how the permanent secretariat building was achieved, the National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said it was the generous contribution of the CGC and his friends that helped the project come alive.
“I cannot but mention with gratitude from my mind what the CG of Customs contributed towards the success of this dream. When I whispered to him that we needed a permanent national secretariat, because I told him we could not continue paying rent, he said he had heard and I also told DCG Tahir about the dream and he told me not to worry.
“But when it was dragging and I called DCG Tahir, he said I should not worry but, one day I went on an official visit and the CGC asked me to give some people in his office my card, I thought it was for bills of laden to start falling, but I never knew it was the beginning of the realisation of this dream.
“That was when the friends of CGC Dikko laid the foundation of this place by generous contributions. The man is a man with magic wand and I am happy that I became the president during his tenure,” Shituu said.
The ANLCA President, however, said that his executive might have done their part, believing that their successor would build on the rest.