By Isaac Anumihe
As part of measures to solve the challenge of physical examination of cargoes and eradication of corruption in the ports, the Federal Government has indicated intention to deploy scanners to all port locations across the country.
Making this known at the weekend, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Bala Hadiza Usman, explained that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has reached out to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to deploy scanners, maintain, operate and service them.
“Scanner operations are provided by NCS. It is the NCS responsibility. But as I said, NPA has reached out to NSIA. So, we are seeking to have this approval granted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in a few weeks to approve the special purpose vehicle that will deploy scanners to all our port locations. The absence of scanners is a big challenge because all cargoes undergo a physical examination in our ports. So, you can imagine how inefficient that will be,” she said.
On the reconstruction of Apapa Road, Usman said that it will gulp N8 billion and NPA is collaborating with Dangote Group and Flour Mills to ensure that the project is completed in 10 months.
She also noted that palliative works on alternative routes are going on and such routes include Tin Can Island Expressway, Creek Road and Liverpool.
“Alternative routes have been identified. They are within the location that will ensure that you get to your destination without hindrances and those routes are also in a good situation,” she noted.
According to Usman, 70 per cent of cargoes come to Lagos ports thereby causing congestion in the area. This, she noted, is a concern to the NPA. To this effect, NPA has dedicated Ikorodu Terminal for the exportation of agriculture and solid mineral produce, adding, however, that other terminals are free to export agriculture produce too.
“We have dedicated Ikorodu Terminal as terminal for the exportation of agriculture produce. Beyond the dedication, all other terminals are free to export agriculture products and solid minerals and they have done so by adhering to the standard operations procedure,” she explained.
On corruption in the ports, the NPA boss said that most of the corrupt practices that have been identified are in connection with contractual obligations to the authority and that the agency is working on terminating the agreements.