Capital projects being undertaken by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) may suffer setbacks as the Ministry of Finance has refused to release over N18 billion that has accrued from the seven per cent port development levy since last year.
The seven per cent levy is collected on all goods imported through the seaports. It is officially collected by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and usually redirected to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to use for rehabilitating and developing the ports.
While private terminal operators, as a result of the port reform of 2006, have been responsible for rehabilitating and developing port terminals; NPA has largely been responsible for developing common user facilities at the ports using proceeds from the port development levy.
Some of the projects that may suffer as a result of the non-release of the N18 billion accrued fund by the Ministry of Finance include the ongoing construction of the 1.6 kilometres dual carriage way inside the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, Lagos; rehabilitation and expansion of the NPA headquarters building at Marina, Lagos; rehabilitation of Rivers Port Complex (RPC) road network and water supply; and the rehabilitation of Terminal C of Old Warri Port in Delta State.
Other critical projects that may suffer setback over the development include the reconstruction of perimeter wall fence at Warri Port; rehabilitation of AMS Terminal B at the Old Warri Port and finishing work on the newly rehabilitated quay wall and apron of the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos.
Usually authoritative sources at NPA informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that apart from the important ongoing capital projects that may suffer setback in their executions, workers salaries, maintenance dredging activities and wreck removal efforts may also be negatively impacted.
“Naturally the management will have to dip its hands into other funds to fulfill its obligations to contractors and if this happen, monies meant for salaries and for payment to its partners in the provision of marine services including Lagos Channel Management and Bonny Channel Company will also suffer”, the source who is a management staff of NPA informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) is also funded from one per cent of the seven per cent port development levy.
Attempts to reach the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to expalin reasons why her Ministry has deprived NPA of its much needed fund proved abortive.