|Rev. Jonathan Nicol, President, Shippers Association of Lagos State|
The diversion of cargoes from Nigeria to ports of neighbouring countries should be blamed on faulty import policies, the Shippers Association of Lagos State has said.
President of the association, Rev. Jonathan Nicol disclosed this in an interview in Lagos.
Nicol said that the introduction of some policies in importation of items had led to a downturn, which has had a negative impact on trade.
“Right from 2012, there has been a massive downturn of imports because government introduced some import policies that shippers couldn’t cope with, and they had to move en-mass to other African countries, and became a threat to our economy.
“I think the import policies we mentioned about, helped in pushing the informal sector away, which is where the money is for now. We discovered that there were too many government agencies and each of them had their own beats against the shipper, which ought not to be.”
Nicol said that losing about 70 per cent of cargo to other countries was a disaster to the maritime industry because the maritime industry story cannot be complete without mentioning cargo.
“Without the cargo you don’t have the port. All other component that make up the port depends on the cargo; both wet and dry cargo and we are losing so much, even wet cargo, that is, our crude oil, everything plunged.”
Going forward, Nicol said government should reverse some of the import adjustment policies, but decried a ‘no response’ on the part of the ministry of finance that should be concerned with the responsibility.
He faulted government’s ban of some basic goods as clothing saying that it was wrong as the country had yet to operate textile industries.
He said the harsh business environment led companies like Dunlop and Michelin to leave Nigeria for other countries following the perpetual power failure.
“Where is Dunlop? Where is Michelin? These are the questions we should ask ourselves. And why did they leave this country? It is difficult to do business here.
“If you want to put say $500 million into an industry, you end up spending three times the amount to run the industry, there is no use.
“Dunlop left the shores of this country to Ghana, same thing with Michelin. First, they need power, and the power has been epileptic.”
Nicol said that in spite of huge amount of money spent on building the power industry, it was still being sabotaged by importers of generators.