Maritime: Call on CBN to give logistics sector priority – Shippers’ Council
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to give priority to the maritime and logistic sectors as part of measures to boost the non-oil sector of the nation’s economy.
During a meeting with the press yesterday in Lagos Bello made a call in continuation of the Council’s sensitisation of stakeholders in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. He commended efforts so far taken by the CBN to boost the economy but stressed the need for the bank to focus on export.
According to him, “For the government, we have to look inward and for the economy, it has to be retrospective. We have not been able to wean ourselves from our dependence on oil but I think this is a harsh lesson for us. We have no other choice than to look at diversification and strengthening our source of revenue, so that we can have a buffer if a thing like this should happen again, we cannot rule it out”.
He continued by saying, “This is the time to look at the mirror and tell ourselves the truth and shippers council is leading the way to look at the economic alternative, viable alternatives, including exportation. We call on the government to have a deliberate policy on exportation.
“Financing, export, insurance, access to finance, access to the port, access to the market, the whole value chain must be analysed quickly, so that we can take advantage of the gap in world trade because we have exportable commodities here.
“We can upgrade them; we can process them and create a value chain of employment from the farmhouse to the port. I am happy with what the CBN is doing, taking the lead in incentives, in palliatives and in interventions. But I will like the CBN to go further and look at the logistic chain as far as export is concerned that is very important to the critical survival of this country.
“Of course we are concerned and we have started looking at that. Our export goods have been on the road for some time and do not have access to the port, which is sad. There are some worrisome bureaucratic steps that should be done away with especially now. It is not a matter of “we should” it is a matter of “we have no option” but to clean up our export procedure and processes to make them efficient than they are now; make them more reliable and then the transportation aspect of it, it has to be done.
“We need terminals for export; we need special places for export. We need a dedicated terminal for export, it is very important that we take the issue of export seriously because it is only there that we can earn revenue. We cannot have any revenue from import because import may dwindle; we have to rely on export. I know that the government has done a lot but now is the time to look at it deliberately, consciously so as to know what to do.
“We have comparative advantage over some products, we can add value to these products, create a chain even for employment, provide capacity for rail and other infrastructure, have access to finance for exporters, had insurance for exporters and our products will be competitive and we will build capacity on that. We will see that the Nigerian maritime economy will stand in for oil, it will replace oil.”
On his remark about the sensitisation exercise, Hassan Bello said the Council had done it with truckers, with freight forwarders, terminal operators and so many others. “It is very rewarding, NSC and the journalists are going to sit down and assess the situation. It is going to be post-COVID-19,” he said.