NPA’s e-call system, modernized extortion aimed at harming cargo delivery – CREFFPON

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Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of NPA

The Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON) maintains that Nigeria’s overuse and concentration of shipping activities in Lagos Seaports is the cause of numerous operational hiccups – congestion, traffic jams, high charges and lack of competitiveness – faced by port stakeholders, especially importers and freight forwarders.

The CREFFPON characterized the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) e-truck call-up system as a modernized extortion that would further trigger setbacks in the distribution of freight given the enormous amount of N10,000 charges that are levied on a truck parked in transit parks.

CREFFPON argued that the ports of Lagos are congested, choked and saturated with accelerated deterioration and decay infrastructures.

To put an end to this phenomenon, the body in a study paper on foreign trading activities in respect of ship and shipment classification and clearance by ports in the country called on the federal government, as a matter of urgency, to decentralize shipping activities from the ports of Lagos to the ports of Rivers, Cross River and Delta, respectively.

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The CREFFPON observed that the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Government failed to make the port system competitive in terms of charges and rapid distribution of freight and recommended that it should either be restructured or prohibited.

“As port competition and the cost of doing business in ports has risen well above the comparative continental port sector average in terms of freight handling and clearance prices. The Presidential Ease of Doing Business in Nigerian ports is not a result of global ratings, but of reality on the field. Consequently, because this admirable effort has failed to accomplish its goals in the port environment, it should be either restructured or prohibited.

“The uncontrolled and uncoordinated trucking networks are an infamous extortion, an orchestrated industry and a gang against smuggled products into Nigeria,” said CREFFPON.

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The CREFFPON observed that the traffic gridlock in Apapa was man-made and a planned extortion tactic that had apparently been conceived over time by vested interests, questioning how the government, which has supervisory functions over the agencies concerned, never questioned or sacked the management team of the agencies concerned about their gross inability to handle the traffic gridlock. “It cannot be said that the veteran management team unexpectedly neglected that the access route to the port of Apapa is vulnerable to heavy import volumes, elevated vehicle traffic, freight transport operations and waterlog prone as well. It is clear that administrative road capability forecasting and preparation in the face of the annual increase in freight traffic has collapsed.”

The body said that the dissolution of the Presidential Task Force on Apapa’s traffic gridlock and the reconstitution of the Ministerial Committee saddle with the same task is a ‘mere act of baptismal word’ as the extortion proceeds.

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