An expert in the maritime sector and member of International Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation, Mr. Adeniyi Adeoye has raised alarm on areas identified by him as possible obstacles to effective implementation of Export Processing Terminal (EPT).
Adeoye who was interviewed by journalists in Ibadan on Wednesday after delivering paper at a seminar titled Assessing Economic Benefits of Maritime and Blue Economy in Nigeria organised by the Research Center for Integrity Assessment and Evaluation (RCIAE) commended President Bola Tinubu for the establishment of a new federal Ministry to take care of maritime sector, Ministry of Maritime and Blue Economy.
The seminar that was well attended by transporters, exporters and other stakeholders from the Maritime industry addressed two major problems identified in the operation of the recently initiated Export Processing Terminal by the present administration. The first is the loopholes which are likely to negatively affect estimated revenue from maritime and secondly is the likely unnecessary and avoidable additional cost to be bore by the transporters and exporters which is likely to discourage exportation of cargoes through Nigerian ports.
“Implementing an Export Processing Terminal (EPT) policy is undoubtedly a commendable initiative. However, it’s crucial to ensure that this policy is thoughtfully crafted and executed to benefit not only the government but also stakeholders in the transport, maritime industry, and the public. The policy should aim to address existing challenges, not exacerbate them.
“Presently, there are lot of loopholes (likely to encourage fraudulent practices) and inefficient operational procedure in the operation of EPT that are likely to jeopardize President Tinubu’s purpose of creating ministry of maritime and blue economy and also cause crisis between transporters and EPT, as well as terminal operators, customs are parts of the crisis as well. To uphold the spirit of the EPT policy, it’s imperative to tackle the issue of unauthorized and Illegal charges, policies and excessive costs incurred by drivers. This can be achieved through proper regulation and enforcement to create a fair and cost-effective transportation environment.
Adopting holistic approach in the implementation of EPT policy will successfully address critical issues that are likely to militate against achieving the objective of creating EPT and ministry of maritime and blue economy. This approach should focus on cost reduction, regulatory efficiency, and fostering cooperation between the EPT and existing port terminals to ensure a smooth and successful transition is covered in the Export Processing Terminal (EPT) operational system .
Implementation of EPT policy to justify its establishment will require critical analysis of its operational procedure which will determine sustainability of the project, its advantages and disadvantages to all the stakeholders in the exportation business.
“President’s decision to diversify national economy is a good development, long overdue and will play crucial role in the national development. If the resources available in the maritime sector are judiciously, effectively and logically exploit, manage, control and utilize this sector of Nigerian economy will comfortably fund one-third of the national budget annually.
“As a nation blessed with oceanic resources, such as fishing, aquaculture, coastal tourism, undersea cabling, seabed extractive, renewable energy, biotechnology maritime shipping, water desalination, industries, deep-sea mining and enough qualified human resources, the new ministry of maritime and blue economy has responsibility of ensuring sustainable utilization of these unending ocean resources to foster economic growth, create jobs, improve livelihoods and move Nigerian economy out of recession .
The Operation Manager for RidakGate Nig Ltd, Mr. Saheed Alabi who also attended the seminar condemned the mode of operation of the EPT. He said, “we initially thought establishment of EPT would eradicate the existing problems experienced by exporters and transporters, unfortunately reverse is the case, EPT has compounded and complicated the problems. We appeal to Goverment to engage qualified and experienced professionals in the industry to map out ideas and strategy that will guarantee success of EPT operation in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Adedayo Aremu, Director of Education/Programmes at the Research Center for Integrity Assessment and Evaluation (RCIAE) assured participants of the research center’s commitment to equity, fairness and justice in governance and administration in Nigeria. Mrs. Aremu also hinted participants that the center is planning a more expanded seminar for the players in maritime sector in December 2023.