By Success Okezie
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Emmanuel Jime, has commended the roles the former Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mauzu Sambo played in the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) under the ports economic regulator.
Jime who gave an indication of earlier conflict of interests coming from sister agencies of the government in the maritime sector, said that Sambo waded in and resolved the issues.
Speaking on the occasion of appreciation dinner organised by the League of Maritime Editors (LOME) in honour of Sambo and his Minister of State in the Transportation Minister, Barr Ademola Adegoroye, he revealed that the conflict of interests from the sister agencies almost affected the project which is targeted at addressing issues of fraudulent practices involving Nigerian imports.
Jime disclosed that on assuming office as the Minister of Transporation, Sambo made sure that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the reintroduction of ICTN.
He disclosed that Sambo also went ahead to ensure that the NSC as the ports economic regulator was accorded the status of Designated Authority implementing the project.
Jime said, “When Mu’azu Sambo came, the first thing he did as soon as he had interacted with me is ‘ES, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council under my watch will be given the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note.’
“He went ahead, using everything within the political capital available to him to make sure that the Federal Executive Council approved the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note. But not only did he ensure approval, he made certain that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is given the right of implementing the Cargo Tracking Note.
“And for us at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, this is leadership. I would have loved to stay here and eulogize and to speak extensively on what this is going to do to our maritime space but this is not the time, it’s neither the place to do that except to say Sir, if you didn’t do anything else in the maritime space, that singular achievement that was recorded, that, Sir, will follow you as a legacy and indeed, we at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council never ever forget that there was a Minister Sambo Mu’azu.”
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was initially the implementing agency having signed a contract with a Belgian company, TPMS-Antaser-Afrique before it was cancelled in 2011 following complaints from manufacturers and other importers.
The CTN had lasted for about one year before the suspension.
The federal government had years later reintroduced the project but took it away from the NPA to NSC as implementation agency.
However, its take-off was hampered for sometimes as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was called in to investigate the allegation that the sum of €40 million generated during the first year of implementation was not properly accounted for.
Experts describe CTN , which is equally referred to as a waiver certificate, as a shipping document accompanying imports which gives detailed information about the goods as they arrive the ports.
With CTN, shippers enjoy the benefit of being in control of their goods as they can locate the shipments from one point to another during the period of voyage.
CTN has every detailed information about the value and quantity of the goods on board ship so that it becomes difficult to either conceal or under-declare goods as has been the case over the years in Nigerian ports.
An industry expert and former Director, CRFFN, Dr. Alban Igwe had in an interview told newsmen that the objective of CTN is to improve security and safety of supply chain as the profile of the goods being imported can no longer be hidden.
He was quoted saying, “CTN helps us to know the origin and destination of the goods and helps us know our enemies who may be far away. With the CTN we can fish out these anomalies”.
Others believe that the introduction of CTN will expose all fraudulent ills in the ports involving under-valuation, under-declaration and outright concealment through which importers, customs agents and unscrupulous customs officials collude to cheat the government in payment of duties.
In his speech on the occasion, Sambo encouraged the Permanent Secretary, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani to take necessary urgent steps to ensure that CTN is implemented.
Sambo told Ajani, “I trust you to before the next cabinet is in place, make sure that the Cargo Tracking Note is working. You are the acting Minister now, you can take anything to Mr President for approval and get express approval.”