EDITORIAL:Nigerian Shippers Council Incompetent to Develop Port Community System

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Stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry drawn from the public and private sectors have, at various fora ,agreed that Nigeria needs a port community system(PCS) for coordination and integration of all players in the port.
Some of them also posited at the recently held 2023 JournalNG Port Industry Town Hall Meeting that the Benin Republic model of PCS be applied in Nigeria to cover all entry points – seaport, airport and land borders.
A Port Community System is an electronic platform which connects the multiple systems operated by a variety of organisations that make up a seaport, airport or border community. It is shared in the sense that it is set up, organised and used by firms in the same sector.
A former Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, had charged the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) with the responsibility of establishing a Port Community System (PCS), which, he said, must become functional before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The council failed to deliver.
The controversies surrounding the council’s status as port economic regulator without a legal backing since 2014 has remained unresolved as there is no pending bill before the National Assembly to give it legal backing for such function. This ought to be a critical priority area for the council
In early September 2023 , Nigeria’s new Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola was being briefed by the NSC  leadership of the council involvement in the port community system.
From all indicators and  looking at its manpower structure and spread, the Nigerian Shippers Council is incompetent to undertake the task of developing a PCS for Nigeria.
If Nigeria must go by the Benin Republic PCS model, the route is going through the Ministry of Finance  which has the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under it. The NCS is the organisation with the strongest manpower presence and technical expertise backed by the strongest ICT infrastructure to drive the PCS in Nigeria.
Today, the Nigeria Customs Service has a robust Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS II) that has linked up over 30 organisations and still counting in a platform similar to the PCS.
Some personnel of the NCS have undergone various training within and outside the  country which has set Nigeria as the country with the highest investment in customs software in West and Central Africa.
The Port Community System ,which Nigerian Shippers Council seeks to pursue, shouldn’t be viewed from the lens of s trial and error project, fiddling with scarce government funds and wasting limited state resources on a venture it is not certain to achieve.


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Ismail Aniemu

Ismail Aniemu, Publisher of JournalNG and ghost writer, is a maritime journalist of over two decades' of practice with multidisciplinary background. He holds a masters degree in Transport Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH) with bias for logistics. He is also an alumnus of the Times Journalism Institute where he obtained a post graduate diploma in Journalism. Email: ismail.aniemu@aol.com

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