The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) says the incessant gridlock in Apapa and its environs is a setback to businesses of not only the transport unions but also other Lagos residents.
Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the union Alhaji Mohammed Musa, told newsmen last Saturday in Lagos that there was the need to end the recurrent traffic jam in the area.
Musa, who decried the gridlock, said that it had caused financial and time loss to the operations of members of the union and the public.
“Gridlock in Apapa is causing a great loss to the Nigerian economy as the major port is located there.
“The gridlock is causing a great setback to businesses in the state in particular and Nigeria as a whole.
“The Mile2/Orile road which is another important and international route leading to Seme boarder is also experiencing total gridlock due to construction of roads which have been abandoned.
“I think the government has solutions to all these issues causing pain and suffering to the transport operators and commuters,” the RTEAN boss said.
According to Musa, most of the commercial bus operators plying the area are threatening to boycott the business over their inability to meet up with payment of vehicle in their possession that are bought on hire purchase.
The state chairman appealed to the government to help to ensure that the contractors hand the job sped up work to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
He added that the ongoing construction on the Lagos-lbadan expressway had also been affecting flow of traffic, urging the government to expedite action on the completion of the project.
Sharing his experience, Mr John Nduka, a commercial bus operator, said that business had been very bad since the return of the gridlock.
“I operate from Ojuelegba to ljora and with the gridlock, business time and fuel is wasted.
“We still charge the same fare, any attempt to add little to the fare, commuters will fight you but there are some that will not complain,” Nduka said.
Lagos Blames NPA, MAN As Apapa Gridlock Persists
The Lagos State Government has blamed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the renewed congestion at the Lagos ports and the consequent upsurge in traffic gridlock along the Apapa area.
The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Transportation, and Head of the Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team in Apapa, ToyinFayinka, said the gridlock experienced at Apapa was caused by NPA’s sudden closure of its gates.
Fayinka said: “The problem we are having today is a sudden closure of the gates by the NPA. It was not expected.
“NPA has an arrangement that for trucks to come into Apapa port, they will validate their papers. They call it ‘Eto’. That one is being anchored by Truck Transit Park and the NPA who are working together.
“Our own as the Lagos State Government is to ensure the free flow of traffic. We don’t benefit from the ticket or issue it.
“They were coming to the ports and all of a sudden were told that the NPA through the Chief Security Officer of Tin Can Port said they should close the gates. When I found out, I had two options. Either to turn these vehicles back to their garages or allow for a single lane.
“The best thing for me to do is to order that the vehicles should be turned back to their different private garages until NPA decides to open their gates”.
Fayinka did not, however, give reasons why the NPA ordered for the gates to be shut.
“I don’t know. They’ve not been able to give me any reason and that is not too good enough”, he said.
The Tide recalls that in February this year, the NPA introduced the electronic truck call-up system also known as ‘Eto’ designed to address gridlock on roads leading to the ports.
However, there has been an upsurge in traffic congestion raising concerns among various stakeholders.
Many stakeholders have, however, attributed the inefficiency of the truck call-up system to human interference.
President of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said, “Congestion is back on the roads because the automation system which one expects to operate optimally is not doing so”.
The National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Dr Osita Chukwu, also lamented about the congestion, saying, “The roads are less than the cargo going through it. That is one. Two, the truck may have everything needed to go through but security and port agencies will not allow them to go through like the police and Customs. They will withhold the truck and that will cause problems leading to gridlock”.
He advised the government to “look holistically to build fine routes to the already existing routes or design the roads in and out of the ports that are marked with red lines, yellow lines, green lines and white lines”.
NAIC, CBN To Boost Data On Farmers
The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) says it is discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders on the need to get perfect data for farmers across the country.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NAIC, Mrs Folashade Joseph, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, recently.
She said that for insurance business to be effective and sustainable, operators should have farmers’ robust data, which they should leverage to promote their operations.
She said this was crucial to monitoring farm processes, storage and the deployment of products that would be useful to the agric sector.
Joseph noted that index insurance could not operate effectively without accurate data.
“Data for farmers will help us know how many farmers we have in each state and what each person is into such as rice production, maize, cassava and even processing of the produce. This is very important so that we can effectively monitor and improve on our processes.
“The index insurance cannot operate effectively without accurate data. It is only when we have the correct data, which we will improve every year, that we can effectively achieve our objectives. That is key to us in NAIC, and we have spoken to our supervising ministry and other stakeholders like CBN on the need to get a perfect data”, she stated.
According to her, NAIC is at the verge of deploying drone to inspect and monitor farm lands against flood and insecurity.
She said the firm had incurred claims from flood and insecurity, adding that the company has sustained its awareness campaign with target at ensuring food security in the country.
Joseph implored those within the agric value chain to insure their businesses with her firm which, according to her, has presence across the nation.
FG Recorded N150.36bn Fiscal Deficit In April – CBN
The Federal Government recorded a fiscal deficit of N150.36bn in April, after recording an aggregate expenditure of N559.67bn and retained revenue of N409.31bn.
Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s April report on ‘Fiscal operations of the Federal Government’ revealed at the weekend.
The report shows that the federal revenue rose by 28.2 per cent in April 2021 to N1.12tn in relation to N862.79bn in March 2021, due to improvement in non-oil earnings.
It also shows that the provisional aggregate expenditure of the FGN put at N559.67bn was 50.6 per cent below the budget benchmark and 59.4 per cent short of the level in March 2021.
Also, the fiscal operations of the Federal Government in April 2021, according to the report, contracted by 67.8 per cent, relative to the budget estimate.
Part of the report read “Federation revenue rose by 28.2 per cent in April 2021 to N1.12tn, relative to N862.79bn in March 2021, owing to improved non-oil earnings.
“However, the retained revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria at N409.31bn, was 38.5 per cent below target.
“Similarly, the provisional aggregate expenditure of the FGN, at N559.67bn, was 50.6 per cent below the budget benchmark and 59.4 per cent short of the level in March 2021.
“Consequently, the fiscal operations of the FGN in April 2021 contracted by 67.8 per cent, relative to the budget estimate.”
It added that the FGN debt outstanding, as of the end-March 2021, stood at N28,984.3bn and represented a 15.8 per cent increase, relative to its level in March 2021.
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