Government urged to use port development levy to maintain access roads
The dilapidated nature of the ports access roads may continue to hinder Ease of Doing Business at the seaports, unless the Federal Government take a decisive step for proper maintenance of the all-important roads.
Specifically, the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has called on government to utilise part of the seven per cent port development levy under section 1-(2) of Customs and Excise Management Act for the maintenance, management and control of the gridlock and the bad port access roads around the nations seaports.
In a letter to the presidency, signed by the President, NCMDLCA, and Managing Director, Eyis Resources, Lucky Amiwero, said port operations especially in Lagos area, is encumbered and practically inaccessible by both operators and other users due to gridlock and bad roads, which constitutes bottlenecks to Ease of Doing Business.
“The condition has assumed an alarming proportion, as a result of the daily occurrence of the loss of lives and the continued destruction of loaded goods that always falls on cars, trailers and sometime persons.
“It is a complete setback to trading across borders and Ease of Doing Business on trucks that spend weeks to assess and exist the ports which resulted to delays which attracted demurrage,” he said, adding that the delay also leads rejection of some fragile export products at the international markets.
He said: “The Port Development Levy of seven per cent is collected from all shipment calculated at seven percent of the import duty, established for Port Reconstruction Surcharge under section 1-(2) of Customs and Excise (Miscellaneous provision) Act No.8 of 1978.
“As a member sub-committee chairman on the Task Force on the Review of Port Charges in 2001, the committee considers the function of NPA as at 2001 in port operation (cargo operation) with regards to replacement of vital equipment, plant and expansion of ports construction, resolved that NPA should drop the four per cent of the port development levy after the lease/concession of the Nigerian ports.
“The port was concession in 2006, with replacement of vital equipment and plant, expansion of port infrastructure under the terminal operators that are responsible for port operation, which is no more the responsibility of NPA and as such, the part of seven per cent for development should be utilized for port access road, holding bay and truck parks to aid trading across borders,” he explained.
Amiwero said: “The economic life and gateway to the nation is an efficient managed port that will operate on the core facilitation principles on transparent, consistent and predictable port system, which will reduce cost and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),”
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