The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Barr. Hassan Bello has lamented that over 5000 trucks are constituting nuisance at the Apapa Port and cloaking the road while only about 1,300 trucks are needed at the port.
Barr. Hassan Bello disclosed this while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport who were on oversight visit to the Council’s headquarters in Lagos last week.
According to Hassan Bello, the introduction of an effective truck call-up system as well as the automation of port services would usher in a new era where only trucks that have business to so at the ports would be allowed to access the port roads.
The Shippers’ Council boss also revealed that the Council had recorded 35% performance in the implementation of the 2016 budget between the period of January and September 2016.
He also said that the Council had remitted a total of N408 million to government treasury within the period.
Bello who stated that the Council has recorded 23% performance in the capital expenditure within the period under review expressed the hope that with some of the contracts awarded recently, the Council would achieve 81% performance or even more before the end of the year.
While regretting that the 2015 capital budget did not perform optimally due to strict adherence to the provisions Public Procurement Act 2007, he however urged the Senators to find a way of abridging the application of the Act so that development in the sector is fast tracked.
The NSC boss posited that training of staff was vigorously pursued by the Council adding that,” the particular budget did not perform due to the fact that the salary structure in which the budget was predicted upon is yet to be implemented and the reason being that as regulators we take our work very seriously and we need to motivate ourselves to have a living wage so that they will be able to confront the industry very well”.
He further maintained that approval of the budget in May 2015, additional responsibilities as the interim regulator of the ports and pending court cases challenging the responsibility of the council as the port regulator further compounded the budget performance.
He informed that the activities relating to the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) commenced in 2015 noting that they were going to give the committee members a paper in order for the committee members to help the council in implementing it.
Bello further noted that out of the N87 million internally generated revenue target; the Council had achieved 92% of it while achieving 71% of the import duty which he said was paid in arrears even as he revealed that certain quotas were yet to be paid.
“By the time they pay, we are going to have 100% and that is the more reason why we want you to note that the prompt collection of this revenue is very important to us and we are going to present to you details of the total collection”, he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the committee, Ahmed Sanni Yerima commended the council on their budget performance.
He said some of the projects being executed by the NSC as highlighted by the Executive Secretary including the establishment of a truck transit parks, electronic truck call-up systems and Inland dry ports among others, if well implemented would help in enhancing port operations in the country.