By Godwin Oritse
THE Managing Director of Nigerian PortsÂ Authority (NPA) Malam Abdul-Salam Mohammed has said that the proceeds of the newly introducedÂ Cargo Tracking Note levy collection is to be used in financing safety and security matter in ports. Speaking inÂ defense of the Cargo Tracking levy, Malam Mohammed said that the government is not interested in introducing any new charges neither is it bringing any new layer of bureaucracy.
Already, port users and other stakeholders in the maritime industry have vehemently opposed the introduction of the levy describing it as illegal. Malam Mohammed who spokeÂ with VanguardÂ in Abuja recently, confirmed that he has received comments opposing the Cargo Tracking Note levy, adding that most of the people opposing the levy are ill-informed.
He stated that NPA has concluded plans to have an interactive session with most of the stakeholders in the industry with a view to briefing them of the full details of governmentâ€™s intentions and the mechanism of implementation.
The port administrator also assured port users and stakeholders that the government is not introducing another layer of bureaucracy neither is it introducing any new charges. Abdul-Salam explained that over the years, many countries have introduced a system of Cargo Tracking levy adding that the system is used to finance safety and security related issues.
Said he â€œThere is no intention whatsoever to introduce any new charge that is not already there, possibly there is a charge that is being collected that has not been reaching the country and that is what we are going to look at.
â€œPossibly at a certain level in the logistics chain, a certain charge is being collected and that charge is not coming into the country. What is happening is that over the years, many countries introduced a system of Cargo Tracking Note as a system of obtainingÂ revenue to finance safety and security related issues especially in view the September 11, 2000 terrorists attack on the United States.
â€œWith the introduction of Cargo Tracking Note in so many countries of the world, a system evolved in the logistics chain whereby there is a universal; collection of such charges at certain level of activity.
â€œIf you have a country that collects such charge, that charge is transferred to the country, if a country does not operate the system, that country does not get anything.
â€œSo what we feel is happening is that there is somebody somewhere that is collecting something that should come to Nigeria but the money is not coming to Nigeria and that is what government want to unravel.
â€œOn the issue of the nationality of the consultant involved in this project, Abdul-Salam said â€œForget about the issue of the nationality of the consultant, I think what we should be concern about is the implementation of the system in terms of enhancing our revenue without adding any new charge to port system and without adding any additional layer of bureaucracy .
â€œIf there is some money out there that is not coming to Nigeria, we feel that if we can hire somebody who can help us and get the money for Nigeria, I think we should not consider the issue of who the person but the money to be collected.