By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, July 12, 2021 Mr Hassan Bello, a former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), on Monday said that local governments in the country could own ports of their own.
Bello made the assertion during a reception in his honour by the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Lagos State.
He added that this would help local governments to push out their products and help generate income.
According to him, the Federal Government should not be burdened with owning ports as they should be saddled with improving the system and regulatory functions.
“Restructuring should not just be for the economy. There should be restructuring in the three tiers of government and this will ensure that local governments own ports.
“In ownership of ports, local government can do that.
“For instance, Apapa Local Government should own Apapa port; this is how it’s been done in other climes, with Federal Government saddled with oversight function and security issues,” he said.
On the issue automation of the port system, he said that paperless transactions at the port was happening as most terminals are doing 60 per cent and above and a terminal doing 100 per cent.
He urged the Nigerian Ports Authority, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to join the NSC to achieve automation of the port.
He added that apart from automation, it was also very important to integrate all systems, to make things to be transparent and processes simplified which would breed competition in the port.
“Once we have digitalisation and port community system, then the linkages in revenue will be addressed and Nigeria will be the preferred destination port of cargo for shippers,” he said.
He urged the freight forwarders to also give his successor the support given to him during his stay as the executive secretary of NSC.
In his address, Mr Increase Uche, President, NAGAFF, said that the standard Bello had established in the leadership of the council was now the barometer to measure any upcoming CEO of agencies in the maritime industry.
“There is every reason to celebrate a man who had demonstrated vision and accomplishment in various ways during his tenure in office.
“In the history of ports operation in Nigeria, Bello’s courageous efforts brought about immeasurable growth and development of the maritime industry.
“It can be rated as the highest so far and that is why NAGAFF after painstaking evaluation, is honouring him,” he said.
He noted that Bello performed his official duties with unswerving integrity and fearless determination, adding that hiss forthrightness, humility, frank and honest attitude in relation to public matters stamps him as being destined for higher office responsibilities.
Mr Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos chapter, in his goodwill message noted that Bello would be remembered for his quest in processing the container depot which was a landmark achievement.
The Vice President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA ), Dr Kayode Farinto, pointed out that Bello had added value to the council and turned it around from being a passive to an active one.
Some of the numerous achievements of Bello include the facilitation of Inland Dry Port, development of truck Transit Parks(TTP) and establishment of the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP).
Also, the harmonised Industry Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Border Information Centres and reduction of charges among others
Local govt. can own ports – Bello
By Chiazo Ogbolu