The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) yesterday said the Federal Government and port operators lost about N40 billion to the 11-day strike which crippled Apapa Port last month.
This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos by the Public Relations Officer of the association, Mr Simeon Nwonu.
The statement described the strike as “needless’’, adding that there was no reason for it.
It expressed concern over the long ship waiting time experienced at the port during the strike.
“For avoidance of doubt, it is on record that the alleged complaint against APMT operations (the concessionaire of the Apapa Container Terminal) is not peculiar to Apapa Port.
“The issue of arbitrary charges is a matter which affects almost all terminal operators in Nigerian ports.
“This matter at present is being handled by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as the commercial regulator.
“We are aware that a case is pending at the High Court between the terminal operators and Nigerian Shippers’ Council with regards to arbitrary charges,’’ the statement said.
“APMT is a world-class terminal operator and an investor in Nigeria that requires the support and protection of our country.
“If the agency of government which had the schedule to administer our ports had performed well, it is obvious that our ports may not have been concessioned,’’ NAGAFF said.
The statement said that a good example was that of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which had retrieved its statutory function from the service providers after several years, with the help of the freight forwarders of Nigeria.
“We do hope that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will take advantage, using its oversight functions to ensure that our ports are friendly and competitive.
“The essence and primary objective of port concession is to bring about efficiency, competitiveness and reduction of costs.
“It is most unfortunate that human element problems, including but not limited to corruption; non-compliance with import regulations, disregard for rule of law and inadequate cargo handling equipment are the bane of our port operations.
“The Nigerian seaports like any other all over the world is a transit area for goods and persons,’’ the statement said.
It said: “what we see today is that ports are being used as warehouses and thereby distorting the entire system in ports administration and management.’’
NAGAFF said that Section 31 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) was clear as to the dwell time of cargo in the ports which should not exceed 30 days.
The statement said: “thereafter such goods would be moved out of the port for further action, including but not limited to processes leading to auction.
“The point herein is to ask why uncleared cargo lists are not being prepared and such cargo transferred to the designated outer terminals.
“Progressive port charges for unlawful stay of cargo in our ports become necessary as a deterrent to the defaulters.
“It is also a fact that the cargo scanners are not optimal in their performance, due to frequent breakdown,’’ the association said.
The statement condemned the administration of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) regime and maintenance of the scanners by the customs service with a ‘meagre’ sum of 7 per cent of the total duty collected.
It said that the service had to attend to the general welfare of officers and men, salary, capital projects and other logistics required to ensure an efficient customs operations.
“We advocate that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council be allowed to conclude the on-going court processes with the terminal operators to resolve the issue of arbitrary charges and other incidentals,’’ it said.
The statement directed all members of NAGAFF to exercise restraint in any matter leading to the closure of the port and explore all amicable avenues with the authority.
11m Benefitted From $415m World Bank Supported CSDP – FG
The Federal Government has disclosed that 11 million Nigerians benefited from $415 million World Bank-supported Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in an opening address during the close out ceremony of the CSDP programme.
According to Farouq, 11 million direct beneficiaries with an estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries across 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were reached between 2009 and 2021 when the CSDP programme was being implemented.
She also described the project as highly successful and highlighted sectors the project focused on including health, education, transportation, electrification, community housing, and others.
She said: “The Project became effective in 2009, has had two additional financing, all totaling USD415 million. In its over 11 years of existence, the CSDP has evolved into one of the strong pillars for the implementation of the Social Protection Programmes of the Federal Government under the supervision of my Ministry through the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).
“The CSDP operates with the core principle of Community Driven Development (CDD) Approach. This is a development paradigm that focuses on the needs of the poor and vulnerable and empowering them with development resources to address their peculiar needs.
“Using this unique approach, the CSDP has implemented micro projects in poor communities across the 543 Local Government Areas of 29 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This represents about 70 per cent of the total number of Local Governments in Nigeria. The poor communities are identified specifically through the use of Poverty Maps agreed to by each participating State and FCT.
“The Project has made substantial impact on improving access of the poor and vulnerable to social and natural resources infrastructure across the benefiting communities. The total number of beneficiaries of CSDP stands at 11 million direct beneficiaries across the 29 states, with estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries.
“Specifically, the CSDP has achieved the following: Successful completion of 16,166 micro-projects in 5,664 communities and 934 vulnerable groups. These micro-projects cut across eight sectors of intervention namely education, health, water, transportation, electrification, socio-economic, environment and community housing; 5,764 classrooms, 1,323 health centres and 4,442 water micro projects were constructed and or rehabilitated.
Cooking Gas Use Campaign Begins In 12 States
The Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme has kicked off the national sensitisation and awareness campaign for the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in Nigeria beginning with 12 pilot states.
The states include Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.
The government said the campaign to ensure increased usage of LPG, popularly called cooking gas, was in line with its ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative, adding that its socioeconomic and health benefits far outweighed the use of kerosene and firewood.
Speaking at the inaugural campaign in Abuja, Tuesday the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said there was no excuse for Nigeria not to be able to develop its gas sector considering the huge gas reserves in-country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion Plan, Office of the Vice President, Dayo Adeshina, said the use of LPG would help in cutting down gas flaring in Nigeria.
He said the government was working to ensure that Nigeria achieved the five million metric tons LPG consumption target, adding that efforts were being made to ensure the provision of cylinders at affordable rates to Nigerians.
“Our gas reserves in this country are enormous and we have every reason to develop the gas sector and ensure that our citizens use LPG,” the Vice President said.
He added, “The use of LPG is good for our health and has better socioeconomic benefits and this is in line with the ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative of government.”
Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said over 120 million Nigerians were experiencing energy poverty despite the huge natural gas resources across the country.
Participants at the awareness campaign also called for adequate penetration of LPG usage in Nigeria, as they pledged to support the government in achieving this target.
Rail Transport Suffers 38% Decline In Q1 2021 – NBS
Rail transportation suffered a 38 per cent, year-on-year average decline in passenger and cargo travel in the first quarter of the year 2021 (Q1’21).
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this yesterday in its Rail Transport Data for Q1’21, which showed that passenger travel fell by 34.4 per cent, year-on-year, to 424,460 passengers in Q1’21 from 647,055 passengers recorded in Q1’2020.
Similarly, cargo travel fell by 43.13 per cent, year-on-year, to 10,511 tons in Q1’21 from 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020.
The NBS stated: The rail transportation data for Q1 2021 reflected that a total of 424,460 passengers travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 647,055 passenger recorded in Q1 2020 and 134,817 in Q4 2020 representing -34.40 per cent decline year-on-year and +214.84 per cent growth QoQ respectively.
“Similarly, a total of 10,511 tons of volume of goods/cargo travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020 and 35,736 in Q4 2020 representing -43.13 per cent decline year-on-year and -70.59 per cent decline QoQ respectively.
Revenue generated from passengers in Q1 2021 was put at N892,467,526 as against N398,999,290 in Q4 2020.
Similarly,revenue generated from goods/cargo in Q1 2021 was put at N26.19 million as against N82.57 million in Q4 2020.
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