FG Urged on policies Beneficial to Operators According to Local Content Agenda

By Ambrose Okehi

Federal Government has been called upon to initiate policies and programmes that would be beneficial to operators in the maritime industry particularly the port concessionaires and private bonded terminal operators operating in the country in line with the local content policy of the nation.
The government is also asked to do everything possible to encourage the bonded terminal investors who are at the moment operating under harsh and unfavorable economic situation in our ports system, bearing in mind that over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs are being created in the economy through these group as this noble gesture cannot be swept away.
These were the view of those that gathered at the 2019 National Annual Bonded Terminal/ Logistics Conference (NABTLC) held in Lagos recently. 
According to the participants at that 2019 NABTC, that the Federal Government should make a policy that will be beneficial to both the ports terminals concessionaires and bonded terminals operators in line with the Local Content Agenda.In a communiqué signed at the end of the one-day conference, the participants drawn from both the shipping, transport and maritime industry came up with the conclusion that: “That bonded terminal operations should be encouraged in the industry to stem further loss of jobs, bearing in mind the over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs created by the sector that have already been swept away by the slump in its fortunes”.
The conference which took place on August 22, 2019, was the Second in the series of this National Annual Bonded Terminal/Logistics Conference (NABTC) usually put together by Richword Communications and Media Services, the publishers of the News EMPEROR magazine, in collaboration with the Association of Bonded Terminal Owners of Nigeria (ABTON), held at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa GRA, Lagos State, Nigeria. 
The theme of this year’s NABTC “Private Bonded Terminal: A Key Player in Distribution and Logistics Management Chain in Nigeria” which many saw as apt and well selected, as it really captured the minds and the challenges of these so-called local private bonded terminal operators, who over the years invested their huge and hard-earned resources (when they were called upon to do so by the federal government) and have since been sidelined by the concessionaires, who now seen them as enemies rather than partners in business.   
From the various addresses and other interventions by participants, the following emerged observations were also reached at the event. And such include that: “private bonded terminals used to play very vital roles in cargo distribution, evacuation and delivery in Nigeria;that, prior to the concession of the seaports terminals to private operators and the enthronement of the prevailing Landlord Model regime of administering the nation’s ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) used bonded terminals to tackle episodes of cargo congestion;that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had used bonded terminals to enhance 100 per cent examination of cargoes;that bonded terminals are now even better equipped in terms of plants and experienced manpower to play very critical roles in the cargo evacuation and delivery milieu”.The participants at the NABTLC also resolved that “with implementation of the Ports Reforms Programme, notably the ports terminals concession peg, the concessionaires have demonstrated lack of interest in having a working relationship with bonded terminals, instigating a drastic dip in the fortunes of the latter”.In a communiqué signed by two veteran journalists, Enyeribe Anyanwu and Obiajulu Agu, as rapporteurs, it was observed that participants agreed that the prevailing disdain of the ports concessionaires for bonded terminals places the over N3 trillion invested in those facilities by the operators in jeopardy; and With such scenario, so far, over 10,000 jobs so far created by this group have been lost due to the slump in the businesses of bonded terminals.It was on that basis also, that the audience at the event finally resolved that the topic of the conference is germane and should be repeated.They, as well called on the Federal Government to enact legislation in line with the Local Content Act that will make cargo handling, evacuation and delivery beneficial to Nigerians while equally pleading with the authorities to ensure that bonded terminals operators must partner with freight forwarders and other stakeholders in the maritime industry to bolster their case for improved operational environment.Attachments areaReplyForward

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