Call for disbandment of Presidential Taskforce on ports access roads
Direct the Shipping lines to Gate-in Exports, empty containers through waterways
By Levinus Nwabughiogu – Abuja
House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the federal government to dedicate a greater part of two months revenue generated by Apapa, TinCan Island, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, and PTML ports for the construction of all the access roads leading to the commands for optimal revenue.
The House also called for the disbandment of the Presidential Taskforce on the Ports access roads, saying it has outlived its usefulness, participating in extortion and contributing to the congestion of the ports.
The parliament also directed the shipping lines to forthwith Gate-in Exports and Empty Containers by sea to the Ports through the waterways by Barges directly to the vessels or the terminals where the vessels should pick them.
This was even as the lawmakers urged the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, and other relevant security agencies and apparatus to ensure immediate cease from the extortion activities going on at the Ports and ports access roads.
The resolutions followed the consideration of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Leke Abejide (Logo, APC).
Moving the motion earlier, Abejide said that businesses, commuters, and residents along the access roads “see hell on a daily basis as they are subjected to nuisance, pollution, and emissions to the environment.”
According to him, due to the challenges of inaccessibility to ports, it now took an average of 60 days to do a turn-around of the container as against the usual 5 days.
The implication of this, he said, was that the country was losing an average of five times the revenue it should have made if the access roads were good.
He said: “Despite the stated challenges the Nigeria Customs Service in four (4) Commands within the Port, viz: the Apapa, Tincan lsIand, PTML, and Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, make an average of N100 Billion in one month. This would have translated to N500 Billion monthly if access roads leading to the Ports were to be in order.
“The House inferred that were two (2) months of Nigeria Customs revenue from these Commands be dedicated to facilitating its access roads and needed infrastructure the revenue dedicated would be recovered in full in less than a month. Sharply increasing our revenue in this manner would stem the frequency of loans from China and other sources, of which we cannot predict the future ramification of the debts for the country.
“The House is worried that further aggravating traffic chaos is most of the Shipping Companies which continue to operate their Empty Containers Receiving Bay within the perimeter of the Ports rather than relocating the Boys and Logistic Parks outside of the Ports, and employing the use of barges as transport alternatives for both importers and exporters towards reducing traffic on the Port roads.
“The House notes that this should be done using private Terminals, such as ESS LtIBRA in Ibeshe, and government warehouses, such as the ikorodu Government Warehouse to return empty containers and Gate-in Export direct to the vessels at the Ports rather than using the Road to bring in Exports and empty containers to the Ports creating congestions.
“Also Worried that major Terminal Operators the likes of APMT and Tincan continue to operate analogue Gate-in-and-out System, and yet to automate their gates, whereas terminal delivery orders (TDO) should be used to the opening of gates for entry and exit of the Ports by Truckers. The use of Automated tickets will eliminate human contacts which have proven to breed bottlenecks and corruption.
“Concerned that in addition to the poor condition of the port access roads, extortion by officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Security Department, Police, and the Presidential Task Force remain the major cause of unending gridlock along the Port access roads, with stakeholders as importers, Clearing agents and Truck Owners alleging that they are forced to pay as much as N250,000.00 to N280,000.00 per Truck for entries and exits to Parts. These apparatus milking the stakeholders at the expense of the nation should be held accountable, white the Taskforce which has demonstrated that it has outlived its usefulness should be disbanded forthwith.”
Adopting the motion, the House mandated the House Committee on Customs and Excise to within 6 weeks ensure compliance and report back for further legislative action.