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Maritime: FG Moves For Improved Trade Facilitation As Export Hits N35.96 trn

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has finalised plans to improve trade flow at the nation’s seaports as part of boosting ease of doing business in the maritime sector. To this end, the authority has put a halt to screening of export containers at the gates from next week. NPA said there should be seamless movement of cargoes on board ocean going vessels.

In 2023, findings from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had indicated that the nation’s seaports processed export cargoes valued at N35.96 trillion. In the fourth quarter alone, Apapa port processed N11.97 trillion exports; Tincan Island Port, N486.79 billion and Onne Port, N241.26 billion.

As part of effort to avert slow procedures in shipping, the Managing Director of the authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko said at the quarterly stakeholders meeting organised by Bellington Cargo Limited in Lagos that terminal operators have been mandated to steer clear from any form of hindrance for cargo laden trucks on exports, adding that the Federal Government had frowned at any distractions or challenges against export cargoes in the port.

Bello-Koko, who was represented by the Port Manager, Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), Charles Okaga, stressed that Export Processing Terminal (EPT) had come to stay in furtherance to promote trade facilitation alongside ease of doing business at our seaports.

He said: “Terminal Operators are to move their export screening gates to the main gate of the port so that once their activities are concluded there, any export truck that moves into the port will drive straight to the terminal without any further impediment or encumbrance to his movement into the port.”

Bello-Koko said that the latest move was a brave attempt by indigenous business concerns to help in economic growth and development of their country. Also, the Managing Director of Bellington Cargo Limited, Augustine Esiekpe, advised government at all levels to look inward and address the harassment and extortions by thugs from truck drivers and motor boys.

Esiekpe noted that export cargoes had suffered many setbacks because of the situation along the roads orchestrated by hoodlums. It would be recalled that in the fourth quarter of 2023, NBS said that exports were valued at N12.69 trillion, adding that exports were recorded at N35.96 trillion.

It said that the total export in the quarter under review increased by 22.68 per cent when compared to N10.35 trillion recorded in the third quarter of 2023 as well as by 99.60 per cent compared to N6.36 trillion in the corresponding quarter of 2022.

The bureau added: “The value of re-exports stood at N50.91 billion representing 0.40 per cent of total exports. Details analysis on re-exports reveals that the top five re-export destinations were Malaysia, Cameroun, Italy, Ghana and the Netherlands and the most re-exported commodity was vessels and other floating structures forbreaking up with N13.67 billion.

This was followed by mechanically propelled vessels for the transport of goods, gross tonnage> 500 tonnes’ valued at N6.76 billion. “The top five export destinations in Q4, 2023 were the Netherlands, N1.91 trillion or 15.05 per cent; India with N1.1 trillion or 8.68 per cent; Spain, N1.03 trillion or 8.11 per cent; Canada,N907.64 billion or 7.15 per cent; France,N799.77 billion or 6.30 per cent of total exports.

Altogether, exports to the top five countries amounted to 45.29 percent of the total value of exports. “The largest exported product in the fourth quarter of 2023 was petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude’ valued at N10.31 trillion, representing 81.23 per cent, this was followed by natural gas with N1.02 trillion accounting for 8 per cent and urea, N251.90 billion or 1.9 per cent of total exports.”

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