Maritime Action Group set to fight anti-trade practices

The Maritime Advocacy and Action Group, MA&AG, has said it is fully set to back the Federal Government in realising the core objectives of the port reform programme, which is to make the seaports efficient, user- friendly, cheap and competitive with their peers across the globe.

The group, which is primarily a private sector advocacy group, is made up members of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO and Importers Association, among several others.

Coordination of the group, Mallam Al-Hassan Dantata, who spoke with newsmen shortly after its inaugural meeting in Lagos, hinted that the primary aim of the group is to assist the government in achieving the core objectives of the port reform programme especially by helping to remove all encumbrances to smooth cargo clearance at the ports.

He said: “The government in line with its transformation agenda has taken concrete steps towards making the seaports efficient, user-friendly, competitive and above all, ensure that cost of operating at the port is reduced to its barest minimum in line with international best practices and so we need to support the government in its efforts”.

According to him, the recent decision of the government to appoint the Nigerian Shippers Council as the economic regulator of the port industry albeit on temporary basis and the termination of the Destination Inspection contract, which paved the way for the Nigeria Customs Service to take over the scheme is a clear indication that the government wants to the ports to work.

“Government has evidently done the needful, so as private sector operators, we need to support these initiatives to make them achieve the desired objectives because it is for the government to initiate policies but it is for the private sectors to resolve to make them work”, he assured.

He disclosed that the modus operandi of the group will comprise advocacy under which it plans apply the instrument of dialogue and persuasion to get the relevant operators and port services users to play by the rules of the game in order to make the system work and action under which the group might need to apply subtle pressure to compel stakeholders to play by the rule.

The coordinator, who also doubles at the mouthpiece of the group warned that the era of imposing arbitrary charges on hapless port service users was over as the group will back the Nigerian Shippers Council in imposing heavy sanctions on such service providers to serve as a deterrent to others.

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