Where Is Port Development Levy? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Business, Maritime

Where Is Port Development Levy?

Posted: Jul 17, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Andrew Airahuobhor, Lagos


The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello was shocked to his marrow on Tuesday by the crowd of people milling around the Tin Can Island Port.

Apart from safety and security concerns elicited by the human traffic, this also exposes the infrastructural deficiencies despite the seven percent port development levy collected contribute  yesterday expressed disappointment at management of Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) over mammoth crowd comprising of clearing agents, truck owners and other port users at the entrance into the terminal. on all goods imported through the seaports

Worried by the shocking discovery, the Shippers’ Council boss has urged the terminal operator to embrace automation so as to eradicate human contact traffic at the terminal, saying the uncontrolled influx of persons is a threat to national security.

This call to question the seven percent levy federal government collects on all goods imported through the seaports. It is officially collected by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and usually redirected to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for rehabilitation and development of the ports.

An average of N8 billion is collected quarterly as seven percent port development levy according to statistics from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the revenue collecting agency of government on imports and exports. But the federal ministry of finance has continued to keep mum over remittance of the fund.

While the NCS collected N7.2 billion from 7 per cent port levy in first quarter 2014, it collected N9.29 billion on port levy in the third quarter 2014.

Curiously, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the agency responsible for using the funds to develop the ports, has denied receiving allocation from the port levy. The NPA reportedly blamed the setback being encountered in its capital projects on the inability of the ministry to release the funds to them.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council; Hassan Bello who led a visit by top management of the Council to the Tin Can Container Terminal (TICT), lamented that the mammoth crowd at the entrance to TICT needs urgent attention, even as he queried his host on the reasons behind the human influx at the gate.

Bello called on the terminal operator to put crowd control measures in place; he stressed the need for adoption of automation. “You don’t need to have flock of agents to transact business at the terminal. I don’t think other terminals have this large number of crowd outside their gates,”

He however appealed to management of the terminal to provide suitable facilities for the clearing agents, stressing the need to constantly sanitise its terminal for the comfort of its users; especially clearing agents.

Bello added that as the commercial regulator in the port, there is need for the concessionaires to embrace measures that will encourage efficiency and smooth cargo clearance from the terminals.

Managing Director, TICT; Mr. Etienne Rocher said that the bottlenecks are caused by factors outside the terminal. He said government agencies at the terminal are the major cause of the crowd outside the gate.

He fingered the Nigeria Customs Service as the cause of the human traffic at the gate. “I would say that the biggest challenges as you pointed out are the infrastructure outside and the bottlenecks, generally speaking it is not our fault because it is outside the terminal. There is need to look at how some of the bottlenecks can be removed”.

He said truck turnaround time at the gate was an average of one hour, but it now takes a longer time for cargoes to exit the terminal, saying that TICT releases between 400 and 500 containers per day.

Rocher said TICT has invested about N70 billion on the provision and development of facilities at the terminal since it commenced operation in 2006.