The Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello Koko has restated that it is cheaper for general and container vessels to berth in Nigeria than in Ghana, Togo and other countries in the West and Central Africa sub-region.
Mohammed Bello Koko said a study commissioned by the NPA with the support of UKAid in 2019 affirmed this contrary to insinuations some quarters that Nigerian ports are the most expensive in the sub-region, as port tariffs in Nigeria have remained the same since 1993.
The NPA boss made this known while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Habours last week and revealed that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the authority between January and September 2021 was raised 120 percent significantly as its operating expenses were down by 20 percent.
According to the Managing Director, as of the end of September 2021, the NPA had earned N256.28bn in IGR as against the expected N214.65bn (approved estimate N271.70bn) for the same period, representing a performance of 120% or 95% of its total annual budget for 2021.
Bello Koko explained that a huge chunk of what cargo owners spend to clear their consignments are expended on terminal and freight charges which are paid to terminal operators and shipping companies. Others are payments for customs duty, inspection services, haulage, insurance and other sundry trade levies and fees. These costs are not such that NPA could interfere with because they are outside the purview of the Authority.
To justify the competitiveness of Nigerian port costs, Bello Koko explained that, apart from towage dues which were reviewed in 2015, Port tariffs in Nigeria have remained the same since 1993.
He revealed that, as at the end of September 2021, the NPA had actually cut down its operating costs by N10.39Billion, which is about 85% performance of the approved budget of N87.32bn.
He explained to the legislators that, actual spending was reduced to N55.10bn from the budgeted figure of N65.49bn, comprising employees’ benefits, pension costs, towage services, supplies, repairs and maintenance and other administrative overheads. This is actually a “savings” of N10.39bn.
Furthermore, in compliance with the quarterly remittance of its operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) and provisions of the Finance Act 2020, he informed that the organisation remitted the sum of N62.66bn to CRF for the year 2021 as of October 31, 2021, while a cumulative sum of N89.9bn was transferred to the CRF in the last six months.
“At the current state of increased revenue drive, it is projected that the authority will exceed its 2021 revenue projections and the projected transfer to the CRF for the year 2021 which is expected to be over N80bn, which would be the highest in the history of the authority,” said Bello Koko.