By Usman Sulyman
The Nigerian Shippers Council’s Chief Executive, Mr Hassan Bello, has said ports in the country are not configured for exportation.
He said this during a question and answer session, saying, “the export logistics chain in the country is very weak, and that the Central Bank of Nigeria needs to look at the gamut of our logistic chain and build export centres across dry ports in the country.
“Kaduna state for example is an area for the production of ginger. Many metic tonnes have been exported from the Kaduna Dry Port, but t the rail capacity is not very effective which needs improvement.”
Mr Bello noted that value addition promotes job opportunities and that for every packing or processing, we may get close to a hundred jobs in the value chain up till when commodities as such are exported.
He added by saying: “We can also consider enhancing cocoa, cashew nuts, turner, sesame seeds as non-oil exports, particularly agro-based products.
According to him, “Nigerian ports are not configured for exports because they have for so long depended on imports. They have been dreaming that the oil will be there as our major commodity. But the oil will dry up. And for the sea, will it dry up? Yes, it will dry up, of course, because the Sahara Desert was once a sea, but that was thousands of years ago.
“We have to wake up and we hope this COVID-19 situation will make us wake up. At the shipper’s council, what we have been trying to do is to get to the centre of the economy of shipping transportation and see how this can contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, both in terms of infrastructure, employment and revenue generation.
“We need to be a producing nation, rather than a consuming one. We need to have factories running. Our people should not just be selling mangoes but should be working in mango factories, producing juice and so on”, he noted.
Concluding, he said that the Kaduna Dry Port has done well despite the challenges, adding, “We are very proud of what has been done there. For the container traffic, from January to May 2020, we had 1,826 units, hitherto it was about 800. We had imports of about 398 and, of course, it was 318 for the month of May, and this is probably because of COVID-19. But the port is facing challenges, one of which is the lack of support from shipping companies.”