NPA MD, Hadiza Usman
In an outright contradiction of the notion of the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, who is also the Minister in Charge of Maritime , the Nigerian Ports Authority has said that the nation’s seaports do not charge the highest Tariff in the West African sub- region.
It will be recalled that the Minister, who by virtue of her position supervises the affairs of the NPA recently described the Nigerian ports as the most expensive in the West African sub-region, attributing the anomaly to duplicity of functions by operators in the ports.
The Minister who stated this when she received members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who were on courtesy call to her ,in Abuja said that the high cost of operation has made it difficult for Nigeria to compete with other neighboring countries.
According to her, ‘’Nigeria is supposed to be the biggest and cheapest player in the West African sub region , but unfortunately, “we are not. But I assure you that changes will be witnessed as we will soon be efficient and effective”.
But in what is tantamount to a paradox, the NPA said in a statement issue yesterday, that contrary to misconceptions being perpetrated, that ‘’the Nigerian Ports Authority hereby states that it does not charge the highest tariffs along the West African coast’’.
According to the statement , In May 2019, Messers Crown Agents, which was commissioned by the Authority, with the support of UK Aid produced the result of an assessment which revealed that it is cheaper to berth general and container vessels in Nigerian ports than it is in Ghana and Togo.
It said that, specifically: while it costs $94,567.63 VAT inclusive to berth a general cargo vessel with GRT of 26,770, LOA at 196m and cargo of 14,100 MT in Nigerian ports for instance, ports in Ghana and Togo charge $217,879.07 and $120, 357.58 exclusive of VAT for the same types of cargo respectively.
‘’Similarly, while the Authority charges $108, 806.90 VAT inclusive on a container vessel with 39,906 GRT, LOA of 261m carrying 172×20” and 139×40” containers, ports in Ghana and Togo charge $117,906.58 and $128,406.94 exclusive of VAT respectively.
‘’The Authority would also want to reiterate that apart from towage dues, which were reviewed to cover the cost of providing the service in 2015, our tariffs have remained the same since 1993.
‘’This is also in spite of the erroneous inclusion of Stevedoring charges, which is collected by Terminal Operators as the Authority’s component. Costs like freight rates and terminal handling charges are components outside the purview of the Nigerian Ports Authority, which has no powers to regulate economic activities at the ports.
Consequently, the NPA assures its customers and all port users of its commitment to the ease of doing business policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration , saying that it is working to enhance the competitiveness of all Nigerian ports.