Controversies surrounding the Terminal Handling Charges (THC) have persisted as the recent upward review has sent a ripple of fear of increase in cost of doing business in the Port through port users.
The review came at a time when importers and their agents were earnestly awaiting removal of THC as recommended by a ministerial committee for the review of Port charges.
Port concessionaires, otherwise known as terminal port operators under the aegis of the Seaport Terminal Operators Assocation of Nigeria (STOAN), had announced an upward review of THC and storage charges after its February 19th 2010 meeting.
The increment, which became effective April 1st, became inevitable, according to STOAN, due to rising wages, inflation and other variable costs while THC increased to 25 per cent, progressive storage charge was reviewed from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. However, the ministerial committee set up by the former Minister of Transport, Ibrahim Isa Bio, had recommended the total cancellation of THC, which it said, was not provided in the concession agreement between the government and the terminal operators. But the transport ministry has not done anything about the committee’s recommendation.
According to the National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Lucky Amiwero, who was also a member of the ministerial committee, THC is duplicated as Terminal Delivery Charges, being collected by shipping companies.
He explained that the duplication of the collection by both terminal operators and shipping companies is in contravention of the committee’s recommendation and global best practices, which outlaw the collection of THC.
Kicking against STOAN’s upward review of THC, presidential candidate of the Association of Nigerian Licencsed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Olayiwola Shittu, said that the timing for the review of charges is wrong and ill-advised, adding that upward reviews would further increase the cost of doing business at the ports to the detriment of Nigerians.
But STOAN Vice Chairman, Captain Emma Omotayo, noted that the concessionaires had not reviewed their charges in over four years even though the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) lease fee has been reviewed annually.
According to him, the port concession agreement gives room to the concessionaires and the NPA to review rates and charges on an annual basis.
A source close to the concessionaires said that the concession agreement though remains a secret document, between government through the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and terminal operators provided that the charges be reviewed yearly.
He faulted the criticism of licensed customs agents of the review, saying that the agents should fight the alleged duplication of THC with the shipping companies as it was the terminal operators that provides the equipment used in handling cargoes.
He wondered why the shipping companies would be charging for equipment, adding that NPA should also reduce what they are collecting from terminal operators as they are not contributing anything to the development of the ports, which have been concessioned.
Construction, Real Estate Sectors Contribute N20trn To GDP – NBS
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said economic activities in the construction and real estate sectors contributed N20trllion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first three quarters of 2022.
The NBS report also showed that construction services earned N12.9trllion, while real estate contributed N7trllion to the GDP.
It further revealed that the construction sub sector contributed 9.5 per cent to nominal GDP in the third quarter of 2022, which is higher than the 9.26 per cent it contributed a year earlier and higher than the 7.95 per cent contributed in the second quarter of 2022, and also grew by 18.92 per cent in nominal terms (year-on-year) in the 2022 third quarter.
However, the sector dropped 28.75 per cent points, as compared to the rate of 47.67 per cent it recorded in the same quarter of 2021.
According to the national statistics body, real estate services in nominal terms grew by 9.13 per cent, higher by 0.50 per cent points than the growth rate reported for the same period in 2021, and lower by 3.68 per cent points compared to the preceding Quarter.
On a Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector growth rate was 16.38 per cent. The contribution to nominal GDP in Q3, 2022 stood at 4.96 per cent, relative to 5.27 per cent recorded in the third quarter of 2021 and higher than the 4.95 per cent accounted for in the second quarter of 2022.
The NBS calculates the sector’s contribution by adding up gross outputs such as a sum of fees, the value of work done, commissions receivable for the services rendered and other incomes.
It also considers intermediate consumptions such as details of the cost structure, including transportation fees, operational expenditure, minor repairs and maintenance etc.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that the contributed amount had revealed what the private sector could achieve in the nation’s GDP.
“When we talk about real estate, it is driven by private investors. This implies that for any economy to thrive, the private sector must be given a platform and a level playing ground for them to perform.
“It will be of note also that the real estate industry does not require an incubation period. Anytime you start building a house, at least 25 persons will get a job. So, if the government wants to support the economy of the country, more opportunities should be given to the private sector to thrive”, the report stated.
By: Corlins Walter
Expert Urges Domestic Airlines To Apply As Flag Carriers
Sequel to disagreement between the Federal Government and domestic airline operators over the Nigerian Carrier, which is a subject of litigation, a stakeholder in the aviation industry and Chief Executive Officer, Centurion Security Limited, Capt John Ojikutu, (rtd.) has urged domestic airlines to seek government approval to designate one or two of them as flag carriers instead of going to court over the Nigeria Air deal.
He said he had reservations about the lawsuit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria against the Federal Government and its foreign technical partners, and majority shareholders, saying there are so many things wrong with the FGN-ET deal.
“What I believe that the private airlines can do instead of wasting their time is to seek government approval to designate one or two of them as flag carriers on at least five Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement routes.
“As far as I am concerned, the airline will die the same way defunct Virgin Nigeria died, and that is my displeasure over that ET partnership.
“So, it is not something that will be forced on the next administration. It is not a government policy that we must have a partnership with ET. So, I am sure the next government will not succumb to that.
“What they have now is a government airline, not a national carrier. Government just called one or two persons. In SAHCOL, two people there have 78 per cent shares, and one person in MRS, who is a foreigner, has 60 per cent. So, invariably, it is the government and one or two people as far as I am concerned”, he stated.
FAAN Boss Orders Allocation Of PH Airline Building To Airlines
Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, has urged the Port Harcourt International Airport Manager/Regional General Manager, South-South/South East, Mr Felix Akinbinu, to ensure that airlines are immediately allocated the new airline building without delay.
He noted that the new airline building project is one of the important projects that have been executed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, and would want the immediate use of the building.
The Managing Director, who gave the directive during the commissioning of the airline building, described the Port Harcourt airport as one of the busiest in Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Airport Operations, Capt. Mukhtar Muye, Akinbinu noted that there are about 27 airports in the country, and described the airline building as a good edifice.
“This project is very important to us, and I would urge the Regional Manager to ensure that airlines are immediately allocated the building without delay.
“We are very happy to commission this airline building to decongest the terminal building they currently occupy. We know that this is a good edifice that will attract other airlines, includi international airlines, to Port Harcourt Airport”, he said.
Earlier in his address, Akinbinu said the commissioning of the building will go a long way in the provision of office space for airlines and other stakeholders in the airport.
“This building will also help to decongest the domestic terminal building of people who troop in and out to purchase tickets, do sundry enquiries, thereby ensuring effective access control into the terminal building.
“The building consists of eight suites, which are suitable for multipurpose, including banking halls and offices, a large packing space and a gate house for security.
“One of the buildings has been designated as a Magistrate Court, which will serve the airport in the quick dispensation of service”, he stated.
Highlight of the occasion was presentation of goodwill messages from stakeholders at the airport, such as the host community, the League of Aviation Correspondents.
Alsos, the new Airport Area Command of the Police, and former Police spokesperson in Rivers State, ACP Ireju Barasua, assured of adequate security at the airport, expressing delight that more projects will come to the airport.
In his vote of thanks, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the airport, Mr Kunle Akinbode, thanked all for making the programme a successful one.
The representative of the Managing Director also cut the tape to declare the building open for business.
By: Corlins Walter
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