By Fadipe —
National Coordinator, Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), Mr Moses Fadipe, on Tuesday said that a Coordinated cargo examination would address corrupt practices at the ports.
Fadipe made this known while addressing agents at the TinCan Island Container Terminal (TICT) and Ports and Cargo Handling Service Ltd., in Lagos.
He noted that a coordinated cargo examination would entail having all agencies involved in the process to be present at the same time.
Fadipe pointed out that the Nigeria Customs Service would coordinate by alerting other agencies of particular boxes that would be positioned for examination for the day.
He said that these agencies were meant to be present, and if for any reason they could not make the examination, they would forfeit their right.
“What we have come here to do is for everyone’s good and it will help address challenges that you agents are facing during cargo clearance.
“ The challenges of storage and demurrage in cargo clearance is a daily occurrence and government is not happy about this due to its impact on the society.
“Whatever is incurred in the port determines prices outside, and we feel the brunt because all of us go to the same market, as there is no market for the rich or poor.
“But there are little things we can do as humans to address these things and thus the need for the joint examination which will streamline things,” he said.
Fadipe said that for the new process, terminal operators should position boxes before 8.30 a.m everyday for inspection and by 2.00 p.m, cutting of seal would be over.
He added that biometric identification would also be introduced at terminals to ensure proper profiling of persons that come in and go out.
“We are talking with the terminals on issue of automation so that legitimate agents and personnel are seen in the terminal.
“There should be a paper by the gate for names, time in and out and everyone must sign. This is to ensure that everyone is accounted for in case of an emergency,” he said.
Also, Deputy Comptroller Mohammed Mustapha of B1 Terminal, Tincan, urged the agents to embrace the change in mode of operation that the task team from the Vice President was putting up.
“They are here to evaluate the timing of doing examination and not to conduct examination with us as you all are thinking.
“They want examination to commence by 9.00 a.m and probably stop by 4.00 p.m. so in view of this everyone is advised to be punctual when there is an examination to be done.
“Movement of people within the port will be curtailed so if you don’t have business to do in the terminal, there is no need to go into the terminal,” he said.
Deputy Comptroller Abubakar Umar of Port and Cargo Terminal, C1 General Cargo, urged the agents to give the process a chance, as it was for their own good.
“Whatever we are doing here is for your own good. We are going to implement this, and if there is any issue, please channel your challenges to your leaders who will communicate with us,” he said.
Umar also urged the agents to ensure payment had dropped before booking cargo for examination.
Some of the agents who spoke urged government to put their searchlight on shipping companies and terminals on charges given out. nan.