Stories by Seun Ibiyemi
Following the state and failed Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria ports and border posts, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to replace heads of parastatals and agencies in the maritime and transportation sub sector of the country.
NAGAFF in a statement, signed by Head of Special Duties, Mr. Emmanuel Agubanze called on the federal government to replace those who have underperformed in their responsibilities, in line with the mantra of “Next Level” for greater productivity.
The association admitted that there was indeed a total collapse in the sub sector, urging the president to pay attention to the gateways of the nation’s economy for sustainable development in the ports and indeed Nigeria as a country.
The association has also set up a five man committee to profile heads of the agencies in order to underscore their performance.
According to him, “Our areas of concern shall include but not limited to Finance, Trade & Investment, Customs, NIMASA, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), NAFDAC, SON, NSC, NPA, Ministries of Transport (Aviation) and Interior.
“At NAGAFF end, a five man Committee has been appointed to do a profile of those we feel should be relieved of their duties to enable purposeful ease of doing business in the Nigerian Ports and approved border stations.
“We appreciate the need for Mr. President to find ways of compensating politicians who may have worked hard during his election campaign.
“However, we believe compensating them with appointments should be purely on merit.
“It is only those who have something to offer that should be appointed into strategic positions especially in the Maritime Sector. Only round pegs should be put in round holes.
“Whatever it is, the greater numbers of the Nigerians that voted Mr. President into power and not necessarily the politicians should be Mr. President’s priority.
“NAGAFF can authoritatively state from its strategic standing that there is a total systems break-down in the management and administration of our ports and borders in relation to economic activities.
“NAGAFF is set to make strategic recommendations to Mr. President as to those that should give way to enable the mantra of Next Level to work in our maritime industry and transportation.
“It is to the credit NAGAFF that those who are doing well in their beats should be upgraded to higher responsibilities and scope of duty.
“It is common for any responsible head of the Government assigned to our entry points and indeed the stakeholders to understand that any barrier to trade is a barrier to national development.”
The statement also frowned at the rising cost of demurrage and freight rates on inward bound cargos, describing it as regrettable.
And so what is it that the Ministries of Transportation and Works have been doing all this while. If there is anything to go by, the mantra of Next Level shall be predicated on competence, knowledge and hard work.
“Mr. President is accordingly encouraged to take more proactive measures to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians who voted massively for his leadership.
“In reality, it is to us that corruption and incompetence are the two major hindrances to our nation-building and development.
“A visit to the Ports environment with emphasis on access roads will leave one wondering if Nigeria is a failed state.
“To achieve the objective of a greater Nigeria is for Mr. President to be circumspect in appointing Heads of Government who have the mandate to exercise his delegated powers for the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians.