Yes we do. In the course of my business as a truck owner, I know if my truck goes out of Lagos to other ports, they pay to enter the ports. So if NPA says they have logistics they want to handle and they want people to register their trucks with N10, 000 for one year, I don’t see it as being overburdened compared to if they decide to place a fare say N200 per entry for each truck, that means if my truck enters the port like three times in a day, that is N600 which is far costlier than having N10,000 in a year. The essence of the money is for registration of trucks for NPA to know the number of trucks entering into the port so that they can have a database and be able to curtail the bad eggs in the trucking business. So I think if somebody does not have any hidden agenda, I don’t think this issue of N10, 000 should cause any protest by some group of persons. We have been told that before we register our truck, it must be up to standard, if you know your truck is of standard, nobody will come and extort you and if anybody does ask, we have the right to call the necessary authority to deal with the situation and that is the reason why we have a task force set up to deal with this issue of extortion.
I support the idea of minimum standard of trucks, it’s a good initiative. Those kicking against the N10, 000 vehicle entry permit don’t have any justification for doing that. We are talking about N10, 000 in a year and somebody is saying is too much, I don’t think there is any sense in that. I am in support of it so also are members of the Independent truck owners association. The sticker that will be given by NPA after registration will also help address this issue of extortion because it is when we have the sticker that you can enter the port because it means you have met the criteria then nobody can stop you from entering the port and if anybody is asking you for anything, you can report to the authority. The slogan of the present government today is change, things have been happening in the past but this is a new government, new orientation, so people should also learn to follow suit. So if we as truck owners have somebody that wants to protect our interest, we have no option but to accept the offer. Most of those that are campaigning against the N10, 000 do not have trucks and I am saying this without any form of bias.
I know the money is painful but we have discovered that it is better to pay the money and have this minimum standard put in place because it will help control the trucks and cargoes that are moving out. So based on that, I am fully in support of the N10, 000 fee. When we pay it, we get the trucks registered and if there is any problem, they can be traced to the truck involved from their system. I don’t think N10, 000 for a year is too much because truck business transaction is a huge business worldwide. When you bring up a good idea, people are often resistance to change, it is not everybody that will accept it but gradually, they will know the importance.
Of course I am in support of the minimum standard of trucks by NPA. I am a fleet owner and the idea is to sanitize the operations of trucks in the port. Anywhere in the world before you have access to the port, you pay a fee. So the idea of paying N10, 000 for vehicle entry permit for a year by NPA to me is not asking for too much. In the interest of moving the country forward, we have to start from somewhere and I believe this laudable initiative by NPA will be successful.
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