Nigeria swimming into corruption as N41.6trn lost in nation’s ports 8 years – Report | NN NEWS

Nigeria’s high level of corruption and corrupt activities has cost its a whopping N41.6 trillion revenue losses in the last eight years of operating at the nation’s ports.

Stakeholders who spoke on the development said the money was lost to excessive illicit financial flows at ports, which also had adverse effects on the economy, even as they accused the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and port officials of corruption and exercise of discretionary powers. Multiple cases of corruption at the nation’s ports have become so rampant in recent times, with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) decrying the menace recently on its official page.

Speaking with Daily Sun, an economist, Dr. Otega Martins, said corruption has eaten deep into the nation’s port system and invariably contributing to high rate of inflation and forex crisis.

“The damage corruption has done to the economy between 2014 and 2021 is around N41.6 trillion. Let me give you the breakdown, up to N1.01 trillion, that is about $1.95 billion in government revenue and N4.1 trillion, which is about $8.15 billion in private sector revenue were lost annually due to corruption at the nation’s ports. These figures can be found in the 2020 publication by the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).

“Altogether, these figures are about N5.20 trillion annually, then when you calculate this in eight years, its sums up to about N41.6 trillion. A lot of cases of bribery and corruption are adding to the cost of operations at the ports, which affects the purchasing power of ordinary man in the country.

According to him, cases of corruption and discretionary powers among the Government’s MDAs had pushed many customers to now use ports and terminals of neighbouring countries, thereby leading to loss of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria,” he added.

He hinted that that approximately 40 per cent of businesses located around the ports communities have either relocated to other areas, scaled down operations or completely closed down due to harsh operating environment and government insensitivity to tackle corruption and other related issues at the ports.

“For instance, Customs officials have huge discretionary power, which can easily be subjugated for pecuniary gains that includes gratifications and bribes. Customs officials and port officials have influence on ports operations by law and function in the bureaucracy, which they can manipulate as either enablers or disablers depending on interests per time.

“The menace will continue unless those in authority stand up to their responsibilities and take case of corruption serious. Go to the Ghana ports, their port economy regulators are effective and sound. Level of corruption in other neigbouring ports is minimal unlike here where you pay through your nose before you get your goods cleared or where ship captains have to bribe port inspectors and all that.

“I learnt that Nigerian Shippers’ Council now hasPort taskforce team that are saddled with the responsibility of monitoring cases of corruption and other functions at the ports. I hope they will do the job they were asked to do and not lose focus,” he said.

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