•Agbakoba urges Buhari to explore N7trn revenue in maritime sector
Romanus Okoye and Steve Agbota
Facts have emerged that Nigeria is losing about N20 trillion annually due to failure to harness the vast opportunities in the nation’s international trade and commerce to generate substantial income through trade facilitation at the Nigerian seaports and airports.
A maritime lawyer, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the nation’s declining revenue profile, said there are many untapped revenue sources that could bridge the current revenue gaps in the country.
Agbakoba, who is also the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), urged Buhari to explore the maritime sector as well as review Nigeria’s trade facilitation and land administration laws as part of his renewed effort to shore up the nation’s revenue sources.
According to him, if opportunities abound in the maritime sector properly harnessed, the Apapa Port alone could generate as much as N7 trillion annually to the Federal Government coffers, adding that it is appalling that Nigeria do not have the critical and essential tools of trade facilitation, which include vessels and airlines.
He added: “One area of great interest that can generate revenue is the Apapa port city. A recent report by a Dutch consultancy firm, Dynanmar shows that Nigeria loses N20 billion daily at the ports, which is N7.2 trillion yearly. The second area that can also generate substantial income has to do with trade facilitation. Trade is the Nigeria’s second-largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it is shocking that Nigeria lacks the critical and essential tools of trade facilitation, which are vessels and airlines.
“So, legislation is proposed to introduce the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) and Air Nigeria. If our local content policy and laws are implemented in terms of trade facilitation, Nigeria can generate over N20 trillion and 10 million jobs in five years.”
He hinted that an efficient land administration could generate huge revenue if well managed and developed, saying that a recent study shows that the housing inventory of Nigerian property exceeds $7 trillion, but that most of this is dead capital that cannot be used as collateral for financial transactions because they are not properly titled.
He maintained that creating an efficient titling system by introducing a Land Use Administration Act would release a lot of revenue into the system, insisting that if it is properly done, estimates suggest it can generate N30 trillion over a period of five years.