Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways and the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), yesterday, disagreed on the cause of decline of revenue at the country’s Ports.
While the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, who appeared before the committee to defend the 2019 budget estimates of her agency, said Federal Government polices were responsible for the low traffic at the ports, which has in turn affected revenue, the Committee chairman, Hon Pat Asadu, said there was more to that.
Usman, while responding to the committee’s query on the reasons for a reduction in the influx cargoes at the ports, said it is because the government is pushing for local production of what the country consumes.
According to her, “We have noted a reduction in traffic coming into our ports. We attribute this to the fact that Nigeria has been advocating for self-sustenance in terms of manufacturing and consuming what it produces.
“And so, this attendant reduction in cargo, in our understanding, is attributable to that. Because some of the items that constitute this drop include for example, the automobile policy, which had increased the cost of importation of automobiles from 30 to 70 per cent, in order to stimulate manufacturing in Nigeria. So, there is steep decline in the importation of vehicles.
“We also have an additional list of items that has been banned for importation. This is to try to stimulate production of certain items in the country and also ensuring that most levels of agricultural produce are produced and consumed in Nigeria.
“So you can see the number of ocean-going vessels are reducing. The agencies that work around revenue generation for importation of cargo will be seen not to have performed .She said items that used to be imported and consumed in Nigeria before are now being produced in Nigeria.”
However, Asadu stated that while the reason advanced by the NPA boss cannot be discountenanced, he is convinced that there are other factors responsible for the reduction of revenue at the ports.