Stock QuotesEurobonds ($)
NIGERIAN EUROBONDS February 26  20215.625% US$300M JUN 2022-104.153/2.405%,  6.375% US$500M JUL 2023– 108.722/2.544%, 7.625% US$1.118BN NOV 2025– 114.871/4.123%,  6.500% US$1.5BN NOV 2027– 107.119/5.231, 7.143% US$1.25BN FEB 2030 – 106.034/6.254%, 8.747% US$1.0BN JAN 2031 – 115.309/6.611%,  7.875% $1.50BN Feb 2032 – 107.767/6.855%, 7.696% $1.25BN Feb 2038 – 102.874 /7.396%,  7.625% $1.50BN Nov 2047 – 102.216 /7.432%, 9.248% $750M Jan 2049 – 114.596/7.939%.
Business Finance Info & Updates

Should SON return to the ports?

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has mooted the idea of its comeback to the ports, years after its eviction. Should there be an increase in the number of agencies at the seaports? asks MUYIWA LUCAS.

After a decade of the eviction of several government agencies from the ports complex, following what the government deemed a proliferation of agencies at the ports, one of the major causality of the eviction, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is mooting the idea of a return to the ports.

Former Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who announced the eviction of the agencies in 2011, said it was to fast-track port processes at a time the ports were battling congestion, delays in cargo clearing and a regime seen as being contrary to ease of doing business policy.

On May 2, 2018, a memo signed by Abdullahi Goje, the then General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) further strengthened the 2011 pruning of the agencies.

Goje listed eight agencies to be allowed at the ports. They were the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Police Force (NPF); National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Department of State Security (DSS); Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Port Health. He warned that unlisted agencies should vacate the ports and work from outside.

“As part of efforts to improve efficiency in port operations, the Vice President and Chairman of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has directed the Nigerian Ports Authority to ensure that only eight Federal Government agencies are allowed to operate and have physical representation at all port locations in the country. The NPA remains committed to the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to enhance ease of doing business and improve conditions under which business is carried out in all ports’ locations across the country,” the statement read in part.

Read Also:  MultiChoice brings back special step up offer on DStv, GOtv

But an indication of SON’s planned return came to the fore recently when the Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Farouk Salim, said the officers and men of NCS were not trained to examine imported goods.

Salim’s worry seems understandable given that the country is being flooded with substandard goods.

The SON boss said: “The Standards Organisation Act of 2015, Section 30, Sub-Section 2, which was very explicit that SON must be at the port.”  He explained that notwithstanding that there are several warehouses outside the ports, which substandard goods can easily find their way into; however, 85 percent of the goods coming to the country come through Lagos. He believes that if SON is able to work in Lagos, chances are that the problems of substandard goods would be minimised, freeing the agency of chasing containers on the streets.

“The Nigeria Customs Service to be fair to them, it is not their responsibility and they are not trained to check for standards, it is our own responsibility. I am not happy, not just because we are not in the port, but because I am exposing a lot of brilliant Nigerians to danger, the SON has a lot of professionals, engineers and others working with us, but now, we are making them do police work outside the port, and this is risky for their lives. There are some markets in this country, even if you have a battalion, you cannot physically go inside safely and come out safely. However, the point is that there is no reason we should be exposed to these dangers, instead of us just doing our job professionally and efficiently at the port.”

Read Also:  Examing growing culture of sports betting

The National President, Association of Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Tony Nwabunike, sees nothing wrong with the SON returning to the ports to examine with the Customs instead of going to the road to chase containers. “As long as they (SON) are coming to do their job, we don’t have any issue with them. We will, however, resist any agency’s coming, if it will lead to extortion. My advice is that the DG should move round, collate data and reports and begin to work where his predecessor stopped.  We have nothing against them coming to the ports,” Nwabunke said, adding: “If agencies are finding their way to come in, who are we to say no? But if they are coming to jeopardise the turnaround time of doing business then we will resist them seriously.”

Nwabunike, however, cautioned against a situation where the agencies turned round to split themselves into units to exploit people. “The worrying thing is that some of them do the same work. You will see a government agency begin to segment itself into units to exploit people; if this exploitation is there aim, we shall not accept it,” he said.

Thenation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA ImageChange Image