Challenges to NPA’s N201b revenue projection for 2016
However, despite the challenges and in line with international best practices in port operations, NPA has pledged to focus on rehabilitation of existing critical ports infrastructure and development of new ones “considered germane to engender robust economic growth and achieve value for money”.
In a related development, Terminal Operators under the aegis of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), on Monday urged the Federal Government to find permanent solution to their inability to source United States dollars from Nigerian banks.
According to the group, the development, which has compounded the situation, coupled with rising inflation and depreciation of the naira in relation to the United States dollars is “making the operating environment quite challenging for terminal operators”.
Chairman of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup said: “We wish to bring to the notice of government that terminal operators are unable to source dollars from the banks while the prohibitive rates of about N320 to the United States Dollars in the parallel market is not an option for our members”.
Haastrup added: “This is the dire situation we have found ourselves and we hope the Federal Government will urgently look into this within the shortest possible time frame”.
Lamenting the development, Haastrup said: “We wish to bring to the attention of government that recent policies including the National Automotive Policy; the rice importation policy and the fish quota system introduced by the past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan are hampering the operations of our members as these policies have led to the diversion of cargoes away from Nigerian ports. The resultant effect of this is the drop in cargo volume by more than 50 per cent in some terminals”.
The STOAN boss restated that despite series of constraints and hurdles, “we have kept to our own side of the bargain and more than justified the confidence reposed in us by Nigerians and by the government”.
She added: “We have turned around the ports in record time. We eliminated vessel queue and reduce the turnaround time of ships visiting the ports.
“Within the first year of our operation, we were able to make huge savings for importers running into over $100million per annum, which was otherwise imposed as congestion surcharge by shipping companies under the aegis of the Europe-West Africa Trade Agreement (EWATA).
“Over a relatively short period of time, Terminal Operators increased the efficiency of the ports; decreased the costs of port services to port users; decreased the costs to government of supporting a viable port sector; boosted economic activities; and accelerated the process of making Nigeria the hub for international freight and trade in West Africa. These achievements have been made possible by a collective investment running into more than $1billion in the past one decade”, said Haastrup.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had in his maiden interactive session with representative of government agencies in the maritime sector recently handed down N500billion revenue target for the year 2016.
Specifically, the Minister charged agencies in the sector to initiate reforms designed to bring in more revenue into the national coffers, noting that the federal government will do everything within its power to support the agencies.
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