By Adelola Amihere
Worried that for every ten containers that come into the country laden, only about three containers leave the country with exports, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have agreed to a partnership to drive export volume and end the tradition of empty containers leaving Nigeria.
This partnership was reinforced Thursday when the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council Mr. Hassan Bello paid a courtesy visit to the Executive director/CEO the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Mr. Olusegun Awolowo.
The ES said with end to oil economy, unless Nigeria drive its export volume now, the economy will be worst for it in the near future.
“Out of ten containers that come into Nigeria laden, only two or three are taken out with exports. We can do even more. We can do even twelve,” he lamented.
He said one of the ways the NSC is facilitating export is to “cut export charges to the barest minimum”, adding that the digitisation of the ports and ensuring multi-modal transportation access to the ports have commenced.
He said once these happen, the ports efficiency will improve and the dwell time for cargo will reduce to six days maximum.
He also said “we have to incentivize the exporters. We need to bring the incentives in a total package. Even our terminals are not export friendly. The cost of export is higher than our competitors. The government must be conscious and concerted by this,” he stated.
He said: “Nigeria has no option but to look at exports. The volatility, uncertainty and unpredictability of oil has been exposed. We have learnt our lessons. If we didn’t go back to producing rice locally, when the pandemic came, china and Thailand were no longer shipping rice to us so we wouldn’t have had rice.
“We have 63 products which we may have competitive edge,” for export he stated.
Commenting, Mr. Awolowo, the CEO NEPC said his agency has identified 22 export commodities that can help us reverse the ugly trend of containers gong back empty from Nigeria.
“Nigeria must refocus the economy to the point where we don’t need oil to survive. But the message is sinking because the presidency is also responding”, he said.
He indicated that his agency wants to key into inland container deports across the country to drive exports starting with the Kaduna dry port.