Maritime sector biggest problem to investors, AfCFTA, says LCCI
…Chambers of Commerce, industry associations to play vital role – Anatogu
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said that one of the biggest problems investors in Nigeria are having is coming from the maritime sector of the economy.
The Director General of LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf, presenting a paper titled, “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA”, which he delivered at the 3rd Annual Lecture and Awards organized by the Primetime Reporters in Lagos, said that there was so much frustration, so many headaches that up till now, investors were still struggling with it.
Yusuf said, “The Secretary (of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA) talked about engagements with authorities through associations, we do that a lot of times but it can be very challenging when you are dealing with some of these agencies particularly in maritime and you are dealing with many of them that are even monopolies in a way and you know when someone is a monopolist, there is a limit to which you can fight such a person, you can’t walk away easily and say you are going to the competitor. It is not easy to walk away and so, you are stuck with them.
“It is even worse because they don’t have any dispute resolution mechanism that is credible, they don’t have any effective regulatory framework that you report to them and how can you trade successfully if your maritime sector is not top-notch? In terms of merchandise goods that we trade, almost 90% of it is by sea and look at what we face with shipping companies, with the terminal operators, with customs, with all this regulatory agencies, with NPA, then talk of the infrastructure around the port, the traffic and all that.”
He pointed out that ideally, on this continent, because of the size of Nigeria as an economy, as a country and the size of its population, it should be the economic hub of the African continent and also, by the virtue of its location, it should be the hub.
“All these landlocked countries; Mali, Niger, Chad, they should be moving through our ports, all the transit cargo should be coming through us. But what are we getting from it? So, there is a whole lot to do especially in maritime (sector)”, he added.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters and Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Mr. Francis Anatogu while noting that this was perhaps, a golden era for chambers of commerce and industry associations, contended that the businessman do not really care as all he wants was to move his product from here to wherever it wanted to go.
“He is part of an association so that that association can do the talking for him, he reports his problem, he cries to the association and that association moves to the government, moves to the National Assembly, moves to the Minister and keeps pushing until that change is realized. So, it is half full, true, but it is only when we are able to start seeing this kind of movement, holding our elected leaders and government and civil servants accountable that we will see uptick in their subscriptions.
‘So, this is real when we say a mindset change across board even for us as individuals. It is okay if you get into trouble or your good is held down on the street coming from Kano to Lagos, you call somebody, he will call somebody and then, he will talk to the person on the road and you move. If your good is going to South Africa, who are you going to call? But you need to have somebody to call. When we say trade facilitation, there is written trade facilitation but I believe that at the end of the day, our chambers of commerce, our associations would need to interact and link up with their counterparts in other areas to make it happen,” he stated.