Indications were rife at the weekend that Nigeria’s rising non-oil export is threatened by the Coronavirus restrictions as over 1,000 trucks laden with export cargoes have been stranded along the Lagos seaports corridor in the last two months.
This came as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello said that he had taken notice of the sad situation and is working round the clock to ensure that the cargoes enter the seaports as soon as possible for onward export to the international market.
The export cargoes could not gain access into the ports due to wrong documetations and the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
In addition to that, several truck owners and shippers spoken in different interviews in Lagos, blamed the Shipping Lines and Terminal Operators for the delay.
They urged Federal Government to take urgent steps to salvage the situation, saying the Nigerian economy is being sabotaged by multinational shipping business operators at a time the country needs as much non-oil exports as it could to bolster the economy that is under serious danger of grinding to a halt, due to nation’s long dependence on crude oil as its main export product and about 90 per cent source of foreign exchange.
The truck owners noted that ongoing reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa expressway is not the cause of the delay, insisting that the Seaport Concessionaires and the Shipping Lines are frustrating trade facilitation in Nigerian Ports.
Recent figures released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicate that the country has been recording steady growth in the non-oil export sector since 2016, a development that Bello called on Federal Government to refocus its attention on boosting the efficiency of the maritime industry and the non-oil exports sectors for resilient post Covid-19 economy that could quickly overcome the coming recession.
According to NBS, Nigeria’s non-oil exports grew from N344 billion in 2016 to N629 billion in 2017, N1.I trillion in 2018 and in 2019, it hit the N2.5 trillion mark.