The federal government has denounced pockets of attempts by some entrenched interests to sabotage the new electronic call-up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to solve the protracted Apapa gridlock.
Known as Eto, the electronic call-up system has achieved some success in its one month of operation.
Also, the government commended the NPA over the introduction of the electronic call- up system to ease the perennial gridlock on the Apapa ports access roads.
Speaking with the media on behalf of the federal government in Lagos, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, commended NPA and its ingenuity at deploying technology to solve the problem that seem to have defied all solutions.
He called on maritime stakeholders to be patient with the system adding that innovations are associated with progressive phases for success.
“I commend the NPA for the introduction of the e-call up system. The system is workable. People should have patient. Innovations are associated with teething problems; so, all that is required are some adjustment which NPA is already doing.
“We must be mindful of those who have seen the innovation as a problem to their personal interests in the system. These are the people trying to derail the system. NPA, however, is on top of the situation and we see all the challenges becoming a thing of the past soon,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the maritime industry stakeholders, especially truckers and terminal operators, to cooperate with NPA to make this system workable.
“I am happy that NPA has identified the problems, procedures and the infrastructure to make this system work,” he said.
Bello assured NPA of the cooperation of NSC to make the e-call up work and change the fortunes of the nation’s ports and Nigerian shippers.
According to him, “the Nigerian Shippers’ Council will work with NPA to ensure the success of the new system on the ports access roads.”
Bello also lauded the promoters of the Lekki Deep Seaport over their commitment to the project which he described as a game-changer that will actualise the economic ambition of the nation, saying, “This is one huge step in the aspiration of Nigeria to be hub in the sub-region. So, I commend the federal government, NPA and the investors for building such edifice.”
He called on the House Committee on Ports and Harbours to facilitate the legislation on FAL Convention for domestication.
FAL Convention is the convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic adopted in 1965 by the International Maritime Organization(IMO) to achieve the most efficient maritime transport as possible, looking for smooth transit in ports of ships, cargo and passengers.
FAL Convention encourages exchange of data between ships and ports, while statistics have shown that countries with more efficient FAL infrastructure have better import and export figures, thereby creating a link between reducing red tape and competitiveness as well as enhancing trade facilitation.
Similarly, he said, “NSC is also working on an important legislation, which is, ‘Carriage of Goods by Land Bill’. I call on the House Committee on Ports and Harbour to see its urgency and facilitate its legislation process.”
The NSC boss also called on the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Amendment to set up a think-tank committee made up of agencies in the maritime industry, “So that we can advise the House Committee correctly on how to concentrate on drastic but good economic policies and laws that will allow the transport industry to make contributions to the economic development of Nigeria.”