Maritime experts have recommended the utilization of blockchain technology for efficient digital operations by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
This was one of the recommendations at the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LOMEP), which held in Lagos, today.
While delivering the lead paper at the event themed “The role of Technology in Trade Facilitation and Smuggling Suppression,” Mr. Charles Okorefe stressed that the compactness of blockchain gainfully deployed in managing cryptocurrencies could usher in seamless Customs operations.
He, however, condemned the persistent interception of cargoes by multiple units of Customs outside the ports, stressing that it gives an impression that Customs units aren’t under a single management.
“All units of Customs should make themselves available for Customs examination so that there’s no interception after goods exit the ports. This would address the problem of distrust among the various units of Customs,” he posited.
Okorefe warned that there are grave implications of the needless interceptions with Nigeria having signed and ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) as the nation could become the laggard in the treaty.
He observed that server breakdown occurs too often with Customs leading to high costs eventually passed down to the consumers of imported goods from additional demmurage and storage charges.
Noting that the railway doesn’t move upto one percent of cargoes evacuated from the nation’s ports, he stressed that logistics connection remains a huge burden to the ports that should be addressed speedily.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Nigerian Port Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin condemned the federal government’s prohibition of items that aren’t produced in sufficient quantities in the nation.
Otunba Folarin noted that human element and monetary benefits as the biggest challenges to technological innovations at the nation’s ports.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the occasion and Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh described the training programme and the theme as apt.
According to the NIMASA boss, media represents a very strategic tool in nation building and he commended LOMEP for showing exemplary leadership in maritime journalism over the years.
“The media is one of the key elements in nation building and everything we do in life. The maritime media is very unique and they work tirelessly. I receive news posts by 1am and 2pm because they work round the clock. This shows your passion to change and sanitize the industry. You always want to sensitize, educate and correct wrong impressions in the industry and we are grateful to have this vibrant maritime press,” Jamoh said.
In his welcome address, the immediate-past President of LOMEP, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke noted that his administration was able to enhance productivity and rebrand the group.
Anaroke, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Kings Communications Limited, publishers of MMS Plus newspaper, highlighted some of his administration’s accomplishments to include; establishment of a Centre for Maritime Journalism, Group Insurance for members, a maritime compendium, new patrons, transparency in budgeting, among others.
While expressing delight that his leadership consumated over 75 percent of its agenda, he tasked the new executives to further advance the cause of journalism and display genuine leadership.
In his goodwill message, the new President of LOMEP, Mr. Timothy Okorocha thanked his predecessors for an amazing template and pledged to build on the successes.