Rivers Port Manager, Mr. Lawrence Alabi, has decried the penchant for most importers and their agents to resort to the use of ports in other countries, particularly the ones located in the neighbouring West and Central African sub-regions.
Alabi, in a statement signed by Rivers Ports Complex (RPC) Senior Manager Public Affairs, Mrs. Barbara Ejemeh Nchey-Achukwu, expressed worry over dependence by Nigerian businessmen and importers on other ports. He also gave a roadmap on how this economic misfortune could be addressed.
The Port Manger, in a statement, condemned this development, describing it as an act of economic sabotage.
He frowned on the situation where Nigerian businessmen and women abandon their own ports only to travel thousands of kilometres away from Nigerian shores to patronise other countries seaports, describing it as unfortunate. He said the situation was unacceptable, adding that the ugly trend ought to be reversed.
He argued that the major reason why Nigerian importers prefer other seaports, including those in the Republic of Benin, was as a result of the attractiveness of those seaports.
"The attractiveness of the seaport is the outcome of the economic policy. If policies are liberalised and tax holidays given, this may attract the importers to commence the usage and utilisation of our own seaports" he said.
He called for the review of some of the nation's laws regulating importations, even as he advised government to take what he called "proactive measures" to modify some of the laws, as it relates to tariffs and prohibition list, so as to make Nigerian seaports more attractive.
His words: "I strongly belief that the laws regulating exportation and importation, should be given human face, as a way to ensure that investors can do business in our seaports", Alabi re- emphasised.
He argued that some of the goods on prohibition list considered as banned goods still find their way to Nigerian Markets, and wondered the wisdom in continuous placement of such goods as banned or prohibited. "This is of a truth a net or colossal loss to government", he said.
He therefore advised government to look at the goods placed on prohibition list or those tagged banned, for a second time.
The reason of taking a second look at the list, according to Alabi is to take a much more realistic approach on how to stop these on-going economic losses into the coffers the federal government.