The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has canvassed a downward review of government agencies’ charges by 30 per cent to improve traffic to the eastern ports.
This plea was made by the managing director of the Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, at a one- day strategy group meeting organised by Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) on how to increase patronage to the eastern ports tagged: “The Economies Of The Eastern Ports,” held in Lagos, yesterday.
Usman, who was represented by the general manager, Security, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, said every agency of government must reduce their tariff across board to attract cargoes from importers to the eastern ports.
According to him, if the cost differentials between the Lagos port and the eastern port was down by 30 per cent, importers would be attracted to use the port.
“We must look at our tariff across board.We have reviewed our tariff earlier and only NPA did it and when I mean review of tariff across board, NPA tariff has to come down, NIMASA should review their cabotage tariff, Customs tariff should come down so that if the differential between ports in Lagos and eastern port is 30 per cent, people can be motivated given that security had been addressed. I don’t want us to think if we have addressed security, everything has been achieved, but other cost component must also come down,” he said.
The NPA boss, who also identified the need for development of deep seaports for bigger vessels to call at Nigerian ports, said Nigeria’s current depth cannot handle modern vessels.
“Because our channels are long it is good for Nigerian Port Authority to carry out dredging optimisation study which we have started and that will show us how nature is fighting us.
“Also, the only thing for us to do is for us to have deep seaport where this bigger ships will come in because we have responded to economic of scales where these other ports will become transhipment port with the inland container depot to get all goods to geographical coverage area,”he added.
Speaking earlier, the president of the Nigeria Chamber of Shipping, Andy Isichie, said the underutilisation of the eastern ports has taken toll on the nation’s economy.
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