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Manufacturers decry proposed high rail tariff for metal products

Lagos- Some members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have condemned the N4.70 per tonne rail tariff being proposed to carry metal iron and steel products for a kilometre.

Mr Abhay Jha, immediate past chairman of Basic Metal Iron and Steel Fabrication Sectoral Group of MAN, made the observation at the group’s annual general meeting in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that the planned tariff was too expensive and “unhealthy” for the industry.

Jha said that the tariff would dash the hopes of manufacturers who had waited for long for the rail system to function and bring down the cost of hauling bulky goods.

“A trip from Lagos to Jebba is about 488 kilometres and at N4.70 per tonne per kilometre, it will cost about N22, 293 to move one tonne to Jebba.”

He urged the Federal Government to review down the proposed rail tariff so that rail transportation would serve the anticipated purpose and increase production.

“We are happy to know that a good progress has been made towards resuscitation and revitalisation of the rail system.

“Federal Government should hasten the restructuring in order to ease movement
of heavy products and reduce pressure on the roads,’’ Jha said.

He also urged the Federal Government to faithfully implement its ban on exportation of scrap metals to protect local industries,

According to him, the country is losing billions of naira by importing billets, a major raw material in the manufacture of iron, steel and metal.

“Unfortunately, illegal exportation of this basic raw material has continued in spite the prohibition and efforts made by government to halt it have not yielded the desired results.

Dr Joseph Odumodu, Director- General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), who was represented by Mr Charles Okoro, Director, South-West Region, said the sector was being closely monitored by SON.

“SON and Basic Metal Sector have been developing consensus standards and ensuring that metal products conform to NIS requirements,” he said.

According to him, SON’s plan is to reposition the sector to export to ECOWAS countries.

Mr Adebola Shabi, General Manager of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), urged the stakeholders to adhere strictly to the guidelines on their operations to reduce health and environmental hazards.

“Indiscriminate emission and pollution will not be allowed,” Shabi said.
NAN reports that Mr Rafic Hariz emerged as the new chairman of the sectoral group of MAN at the meeting. (NAN)


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