Operators Question Justification for 7% Port Development Levy
- Ask NPA to account for the billions
From this week, trucks or articulated vehicles not registered with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in all the ports nation-wide will not be allowed to enter the ports to do business, even as the authority has registered over 10, 000 trucks from 10 different companies with various fleet, amounting to a N100 million as at last week.
This exercise which has been marred by protests from different truck owners associations, raising the concern of some maritime stakeholders who sought to know what NPA has done with the billions of naira generated as 7 percent port development levy paid by every importer in the country.
NPA had stated that from 1st of March, 2016 no unregistered truck without a sticker will access the port for any business.
While members of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), among other unions have protested the N10, 000 registered fee, ten companies with the combined fleet of over 10, 000 have complied with the NPA directive, thereby making the authority to rake in over N100 million in 2016 from truck operations registration, leaving them with N499 billion balance to meet the N500 billion 2016 annual target set for each parastatal in the maritime industry by the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi.
Surprisingly, MMS Plus observed that the target repeatedly said by the minister last week in Lagos at different functions, sent the management of NPA into using some media houses to remind the port concessionaires that they have to pay their indebtedness, making them to compile wrong lists in some cases.
High Chief Micheal Ajayi, General Manager, Western port of NPA confirmed that ten companies, called fleet owners have registered with NPA. Dangote Group registered 5, 000 trucks; Flour mills, over 700; ENL Consortium over 100 trucks. Other firms whose number of fleet were not disclosed but were substantial are: Sifax Group, Total Logistics; HELEM; Universal Concepts, MIGFO; Buildwell; Classic Marine; Benarly and Redline logistics.
According to Ajayi, “N10, 000 fee is entry permit. You enter the port to do business in NPA and you are making profit. But they want to enter the facility free-of-charge. Of course, that is not proper because we need to maintain the infrastructure. And these trucks contribute to the destruction of our infrastructure. We have a long list of them. Hardly will a week pass without one of them destroying one thing or the other. So we need money to put them in order.”
Ajayi further argued: “When you look at the N10, 000 we are asking them to pay for a whole year, if you divide it by 365 days, it will give you less than N30 per day. So it is not exorbitant. If you go to the airport, just for your SUV or car you are paying about N300 and when you are coming again you pay N300. Here, we are talking about truck not car.
“Their problem is that they don’t have money to meet the minimum standards but instead of coming out to say that they said they want to withdraw their services. They can withdraw their services because they are not even registered with NPA in the first place. Their trucks, are not designed primarily for NPA”, Ajayi noted.
Asked if this internal revenue generation was aimed at meeting the N500 billion target, Ajayi said: “it is not because of the N500 billion. Whether the Minister gives the target or not, it behoves on us to generate revenue for the government. We are in business.”
While the chairman of AMATO, could not be reached for comment as at press time, Ajayi asserted that NPA had partnered the freight forwarding associations and shippers associations to drive home the import of the new fleet registration aimed at reducing accidents on the roads and ensuring safety of cargo in the freight forwarding chain as well as having the data base of the trucks for planning and discipline sake
Meanwhile, some customs authorities and importers’ representatives last week, raised the issue of 7 per cent port development levy being collected over the year by NPA for federal government, saying that the port infrastructure has no business being very poor when the levy is deducted from every import into the country.
The customs officials who soon will make this a national discourse, asked NPA to account for the 7 percent port development levy in the light of the current anti- corruption campaign in the country.