Amaechi targets 48hrs cargo clearance, orders NIMASA audit

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Patrons of Nigerian seaports may be in for a better time with the target of the current administration to work toward achieving 48hrs cargo clearance.

This intent was conveyed to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who has also ordered financial and staff audit of the Nigerian Maritime and Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

`NPA is the manager of the nation seaports and one of the oldest parastatals in the country. In all, it manages six seaports with two in Lagos and four others outside lagos.

However, there have been several complaints about delays at getting goods cleared at the nation’s seaports and which has pushed cargoes into demurrage, making owners or importers to incur additional expenses.
“Other countries operating maritime industry are achieving 48 hours cargo clearance, so Nigeria is not an exemption’ said the minister

“I believe in transparency and hard work. We should endeavour to do what people are expecting us to do.

“I will inform the public about the activities of the maritime industry to make sure you do what people will like to know,’’ he said.

Managing Director of NPA, Habib Abdullahi, said the agency had made tremendous efforts in the last three years in managing the affairs of Nigerian ports.

“When we take you round the ports, you will be able to see the developments at Lagos ports.

The minister seems not impressed with the current situation at NIMASA where he has ordered a comprehensive audit of its finances and human resources.

The audit will as well cover verification of contracts awarded in an exercise that will look at the agency from its inception to date.

NIMASA, the apex regulatory and promotional maritime agency in the country was created from the merger of National Maritime Authority (NMA) and Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council on Aug. 1, 2006

“Over N100 billion is given to this agency yearly and I am yet to see how it has been spent. I am yet to see some of the projects being executed by this agency,’’ Amaechi said.

“From my inspection so far, I discovered that the Search and Rescue clinic is not equipped; the canteen is in deteriorated condition; the chairs are not okay and the place is leaking,’’ the minster said.

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