By Godwin Oritse
THE Federal Government has realized about N24 billion from APM Terminals operators of Nigeriaâ€™s biggest port terminal intheÂ Lagos Port Complex – between 2006 and 2009.
This amount is exclusive of the commencement fees and throughput fees paid by the company into the coffers of the Federal Government.
Managing Director of APM Terminals Apapa, Mr. Martin Dirks, disclosed this recentlyÂ when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialization who visited the terminal.
Dirks explained to the visiting lawmakers that N17.6 billion has been paid by his organisation to the Federal Government as lease fees while N579 million has been paid as company income tax.
The APM Terminals boss said that other fees paid to the government were N2.6 billion as Value Added Tax (VAT), N900 million as Withholding Tax, N662 million as PAYE (personal tax) and an estimated N1.2 billion as duties on imports.
Dirks also told the Committee members that since APM Terminals took possession of the Apapa Container Terminal in March 2006, it has invested N20.4 billion ($136 million). He disclosed that the money was invested in infrastructural civil works, new terminal handling equipment and modernized IT hardware and software systems.
He said that a further N10.5 billion ($70 million) has been earmarked for investment at the terminal in the second phase of development which will commence in August 2009.
He further informed his guests while conducting them round the upgraded facility that since take over in 2006, â€œtotal production on the quayside has increased, total containers gated out have also increased and vessel queue is down to zero todayâ€.
â€œI am happy to inform you also that total empty containers loaded out on vessels currently stands at about 4, 000 weekly and total empty container stock in the port is within our manageable limit. Unfortunately I must mention that container dwell time is still very high. Total number of containers picked up by agents remains low and total containers scheduled for customs examination is also very low. The sacrifice we made in February this year by giving a 40_day storage waiver and re_introducing the old flat storage charge had no impact on dwell time and this clearly shows that charges were not the cause of port congestionâ€, he added.
Martin Dirks also said that APM Terminals has the capacity to weekly stow and evacuate 5, 000 empty TEUâ€™s while it has an average of 4, 000 empty TEUâ€™s on the terminal weekly.
Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Ahmed Njidda Gella said at the end of the visit that his committe was impressed with the activities of the terminal operator.
â€œFrom what we have seen here, I can tell you that the concessionaire has done very well. They are doing their best and they are playing their part well in line with the concession agreement. It is NPA (Nigerian Ports Authority) that has not been doing well. NPA has not been doing anything other than collect money from the concessionairesâ€, Gella stated listing areas such as dredging where he says NPA needs to come alive to its responsibilities.
Dirks had earlier on Monday informed members of a different committee, the House of Representatives Committee on Customs & Excise, who visited the terminal that APM Terminals is committed to investment and growth in Nigeria, as in other developing areas of the world.
â€œWe see Nigeria as a key area in our planned expansion, and we are determined to set the standard for world_class service here as we have done in every part of the world in which we do businessâ€, he had stated.Â Â Â Â Â Â Both Committees visited the terminal on oversight functions.