2016 Budget: Council Urges FG To Develop Maritime Agenda | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2016 Budget: Council Urges FG To Develop Maritime Agenda

Posted: Mar 25, 2016 at 3:27 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chief Kunle Folarin, the chairman, Nigerian Port Consultative Council of Nigeria (NPCC), on Thursday, said this was a critical time for the Federal Government to develop a maritime agenda.

He stated this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos as maritime activities closed for the week.

Folarin, who spoke against the backdrop of the National Assembly’s passage of the 2016 budget on Wednesday, said the maritime industry had been neglected and not focused as it should.

The maritime economist explained that the Federal Ministry of Transport’s allocation was high in the budget.

He, however, said that he did not know whether substantial financial provision was made for the rail sector.

According to him, the Federal Ministry of Transport consists of rail and maritime and one also expects the focus to be on maritime.

Folarin also said that maritime agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transport should also try to generate enough revenue for the government and discharge their mandates which he described as “critical”.

“Once the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is developed, it should give maritime security and development of the nation’s shipping industry the deserved priority.

“We shall also see when the proposed national carrier will come up.

“The Nigerian Shippers’ Council should also create a platform for moderate shipping costs, freight administration and access to real freight transit,” he said.

The NPCC chief also mentioned the need to build the “critical” pillars of the economy consisting of human capacity development, shipping development, port infrastructure and super superstructure.

Folarin said that these would make Nigerian ports more competitive in the sub-region to be a hub.

“We need to reposition Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in terms of structure and superstructure.

“We should be looking at public enlightenment in the maritime sector to create employment,” he noted.

In the week under review, the General Manager, Western Ports, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Micheal Ajayi, said the organisation remained undaunted in certification of trucks entering the ports to reduce accidents caused by rickety trucks.

Ajayi made this known in Lagos against the backdrop of the strike action embarked upon by some truck owners since Monday.

The striking truck operators resisted the N10,000 Vehicle Entry Permit charged by the authority.

The Vehicle Entry Permit took effect from Monday.

The general manager said that the N10,000 allowed each truck multiple entry into the Tin-Can Island port and the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), saying that the proceeds would go into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Ajayi explained that NPA was charging the truck operators because it maintained common-user facility, the roads and other infrastructure at the ports.

“Money would be required to put the infrastructure in good state which would benefit not only the truck users but other port users.

“From my own observation, it is not that the N10,000 is too much for the truck operators which amount to N27,000 per day.

“What is a pain to them is the cost of putting their rickety vehicles in order before they pay to meet the minimum standard.”

Ajayi said that the certification became necessary because the organisation wanted to get rid of rickety vehicles entering the ports.

“The rickety vehicles had constituted hazard to the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians.

“Many at times, these trucks fell on cars and crushed the owners. Several lives had been lost through such accidents.

“So, the check on rickety vehicles should start at the ports where they go on daily basis to do business,” Ajayi was quoted as saying.

The general manager said that some concessionaires and even terminal operators had complied and their trucks had been certified.

Ajayi said that many corporate independent fleet owners had been registered.