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Reps ask government to speed up construction of access road to Apapa, Tincan lsIand

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to pay special attention to the construction of access road leading to Apapa, Tincan lsIand, PTML, and Kirikiri and dedicate the greater part of two months revenue generated by the four Commands of Nigerian Customs Service for the construction of all the access roads, leading to these commands in order to complete the roads in two months for optimal revenue in the country.

It directed the shipping lines to forthwith Gate-in Exports and Empty Containers by sea to the Ports through the waterways by barges directly to the vessels or the terminals where the vessels should pick them.

The House urged the Nigeria Ports Authority and relevant security agencies and apparatus to ensure immediate cease and desist of extortion activities going on at the Ports and Ports Access Roads.

The Green Chamber also urged the Federal Government to immediately disband the Presidential Taskforce on the Ports Access Roads, haven outlived its usefulness and for participating in extortion and contributing to the congestion of the Ports Access Roads.

The House reached this resolution on Wednesday at plenary, following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Leke Abejide (Kogi, SDP).

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Moving the motion, Abejide noted that the Committee on Customs and Excise had embarked on a week-long oversight of Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service Commands to ascertain the level of revenue generation and also to find out their challenges in order to find a way of addressing them using Customs Budget of 2021.

He also noted that the Committee, haven gone round the Commands under a very difficult terrain so many anomalies were discovered that if not tackled headlong, the Nigerian Ports are at the risk of imminent and total collapse.

According to the lawmaker, businesses, commuters, and residents along these access roads see hell on a daily basis as they are subjected to nuisance, pollution, and emissions to the environment.

Abejide said: “due to the challenges of inaccessibility to Ports it takes an average of 60 days to do a turn-around of a container, whereas should there be easy access to the Ports the turnaround within Lagos should not be more than five (5) days. The implication thus is that the country is losing an average of five (5) times the revenue it should have made if the access roads were good.

He explained that: “despite the stated challenges the Nigeria Customs Service in four (4) Commands within the Port, viz: the Apapa, Tincan lsIand, PTML, and Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, make an average of N100 Billion in one month. This would have translated to N500 Billion monthly if access roads leading to the ports were to be in order”.

The Kogi Federal legislator inferred that were two months of Nigeria Customs revenue from these Commands be dedicated to facilitate its access roads and needed infrastructure the revenue dedicated would be recovered in full in less than a month.

“Sharply increasing our revenue in this manner would stem the frequency of loans from China and other sources, of which we cannot predict the future ramification of the debts for the country”, he said.

Abejide expressed worry that further aggravating traffic chaos is most of the Shipping Companies which continue to operate their Empty Containers Receiving Bay within the perimeter of the Ports rather than relocating the Boys and Logistic Parks outside of the Ports, and employing the use of barges as transport alternatives for both importers and exporters towards reducing traffic on the Port roads.

He said this should be done using private Terminals, such as ESS LtIBRA in Ibeshe, and government warehouses, such as the Ikorodu Government Warehouse to return empty containers and Gate-in Export direct to the vessels at the Ports rather than using the Road to bring in Exports and empty containers to the Ports creating congestions.

The lawmaker was: “Worried that major Terminal Operators, the likes of APMT and TtICT continue to operate analogue Gate-in-and-out System, and yet to automate their gates, whereas terminal delivery orders (TDO) should be used to the opening of gates for entry and exit of the Ports by Truckers. The use of Automated tickets will eliminate human
contacts that have proven to breed bottlenecks and corruption.

“Concerned that in addition to the poor condition of the port access roads, extortion by officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Security Department, Police, and the Presidential Task Force remain the major cause of unending gridlock along the Port access roads, with stakeholders as importers, Clearing agents and Truck Owners alleging that they are forced to pay as much as N250,000.00 to N280,000.00 per Truck for entries and exits to Ports”.

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