The Chairman of Dock Management Nigeria Ltd, Alhaji Moshood Salvador, has said that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has not paid stevedoring companies working for it for the past eight months.
He said that the NPA’s explanation was that it had spent beyond the budgetary allocation for stevedores within five to six months in 2013. He said that showed that the volume of cargo handled by Nigerian ports in 2013 had doubled when compared to the tonnage recorded in 2012 as a result of the port reform.
Salvador said that the stevedores were optimistic that NPA would pay based on several meetings with the labour union, the stevedoring association and the tally clerks.
He expressed optimism that imports which appeared to be doubled in 2013 might grow four times in 2014, in comparison with the tonnage recorded in 2012.
He said government could get N4.6 trillion revenue through Customs duties and ports charges.
Salvador said in Lagos that if Federal Government could make port tariffs competitive, it would achieve the revenue projections in the 2014 budget.
According to him, if the tariffs are competitively regulated, vessels will not be diverted to other West African countries and the aim of the port tariffs is to reduce smuggling.
“If NPA (Nigeria Ports Authority) can come up and say that the budgetary allocation for stevedoring company for one year finished within five or six months, it simply means the importation had doubled for last year. In spite of all these diversions to the neighbouring countries, doubled importation is from the local importers.
“What about the foreign companies that are bringing their consignments to Nigeria? If we now advise the Federal Government to look into the tariff and make it very competitive all these Ghana, Togo, will never get anybody coming there because we have the best ports and equipment. Review tariff and make it competitive, it will reduce diversion seriously,” he stated.