Hadiza Bala-Usman: Government policies affecting cargo volumes at seaport 

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, has said that the nation’s seaports are losing ship and cargo traffic because of certain government policies that are discouraging importation. 

Speaking on Thursday during NPA’s 2019 budget defence before the House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways in Abuja, Bala-Usman said, “We have noted a reduction in traffic coming into our ports. We attribute this to the fact that Nigeria has been advocating for self-sustenance in terms of manufacturing and consuming what it produces.

“And so, this attendant reduction in cargo, in our understanding, is attributable to that because some of the items that constitute this drop include for example, the automobile policy, which had increased the cost of importation of automobiles from 30 to 70 percent in order to stimulate manufacturing in Nigeria. So, there is steep decline in the importation of vehicles.

“We also have an additional list of items that have been banned from importation. This is to try to stimulate production of certain items in the country and also ensuring that most agric produce are produced and consumed in Nigeria.

“So you can see the number of ocean going vessels reducing. The agencies that work around revenue generation for importation of cargo will be seen not to have performed.” 

Bala-Usman disclosed that the projected internally generated revenue of NPA for 2019 was N276.75 billion while net revenue from oil source is N255.69 billion. The organisation’s total expenditure for the year, she further disclosed, is estimated at N229.91billion. This is made up of N110.71 billion for operating expenses; N52.13 billion for overhead costs; N58.8 billion for pension cost and N119.21 billion for capital expenditure. 

She said NPA plans to remit N20.62 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) from its projected 2019 operating surplus of N25.77 billion.

Chairman of the House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, Pat Asadu, however, said poor cargo clearing processes at the port may have contributed to the drop in cargo volumes. 

He said, “I don’t want us to just dismiss this. You may want to look to see what other things are going on. I think maybe we should look at things like efficiency of cargo clearance. We know what is going on with the congestions at the ports. I have no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of other factors.”