Tinubu’s agenda: NPA, Customs synergize to reduce trade bottlenecks at ports — Bello-Koko

Mohammed Bello-Koko

● Lauds Customs CG, says there is a new customs

Authorities of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have forged a strong synergy towards reducing bottlenecks at the country’s sea ports in facilitating trade between Nigeria and other countries, the Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, has said.

With a good expenditure of effort and commitment to actualize President Bola Tinubu’s vision and agenda of ease of doing business particularly at the ports, Bello-Koko said both agencies of government have found a new synergy.

He spoke on Tuesday in Lagos while featuring as a panelist at the ongoing four-day 43rd Annual Council Meeting and 18th Roundtable of Managing Directors/Exhibition of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA).

Reports said that the panelists discussed the topics — “Realities and perspectives for trade facilitation by ports authorities’ and “A review of architecture in the Gulf of Guinea: Are African ports ready for AfCFTA?”‘

The NPA boss noted that the new synergy was possible because of the forward-looking and prescient innovative ideas of the new leadership of Nigerian Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi.

“There is a new synergy between NPA and Customs. The Controller General of Customs has taken actions to reduce bottlenecks at the ports. He has proved that there is a new Customs.

“I like to publicly commend Mr Adeniyi for the reforms and initiatives and l, therefore, request everyone to applaud and clap for him; he was here yesterday,” Persecondnews quotes Bello-Koko as saying.

He noted with satisfaction that Customs procedures are being harmonized and standardized for improved trade among African countries.

On security, the NPA MD also acknowledged the efforts of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in providing security in the Gulf of Guinea and also helping to reduce piracy.

“Piracy has reduced drastically on our waterways, there has not been any incident in the last two years.

“With the Navy, surveillance has really improved and stowaways have been reduced too. Security has improved at the ports,” he said.

On cargo clearing, Bello-Koko said automation is key to speedy clearing of goods at the ports as it will reduce the cost of doing business and cargo clearing period.

In his own contributions to the discourse, the President of PMAWCA and MD of Gabon ports, Mr Martin Boguikouma, said only 32 out of 54 countries in Africa have so far ratified AfCFTA which, he noted, was not good enough.

He disclosed that in Gabon, the government had introduced several measures towards trade facilitation including establishing a national commission for trade facilitation, organizing road maps and raising awareness among the people.

President Tinubu had on Monday opened the council meeting and roundtable which ends on Thursday.

More than 300 delegates from parts of Africa are attending the event. [PSN]

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