The new Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman, on Thursday said the Nigerian government had begun a review of the automobile policy which came into effect during the previous administration.
Ms. Usman spoke in Lagos during a tour of the Tincan Island seaport, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, and NPA dockyard.
“We are discussing with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment regarding where we are following the automobile policy, because federal government needs to review some of its policies to determine the benefits that will accrue to the government following the period of implementation,” said Ms. Usman, who was appointed last July.
The automobile policy was introduced in October 2013 to encourage local manufacturing of vehicles and discourage importation of cars as well as gradually phase out used cars (popularly known as Tokunbo cars).
“There’s been a period of implementation of the automobile policy. There’s a need to relook at it to determine the opportunities lost by the federal government vis a vis the automotive industry. This is ongoing.
“We’ll aggressively sustain this discussion to ensure that in a timely manner the government concludes its assessment of this policy and takes a decision on the way forward as it relates to the revenue being lost within the Authority and also the development of the automobile industry itself.
Last June, while speaking in Lagos, Okechukwu Enelamah, the Investment and Trade minister, said the federal government would not reverse the auto policy.
“We will build on what has been done and we want stakeholders to tell us what they want us to do to enable the policy work.”
Deserted ports, abandoned properties
Ms. Usman, a former #BringBackOurGirls campaigner, also said the government would review the port concession agreement with port operators.
“We have had discussions with port operators, there are critical areas around port development that they have not complied,” said Ms. Usman.
“There are outstanding fees and attendant issues we are going to aggressively pursue.”
The NPA boss’ tour took her around a largely deserted port that included Five Star Terminal, Sifax, Ports & Terminal Multiservices Limited, Tincan Island Container Terminal among others.
At Josepdam Port Services, Travers Simon, the managing director, told the NPA boss his company had submitted an expansion plan to the federal government since January but have not received any response.
According to Mr. Simon, the plan would boost government’s revenue by $10 million annually.
Ms. Usman also visited the NPA’s transit truck terminal, along the Apapa expressway, that had not been put to use.
“There will be a review of the concession agreement, the issue around the holding bays might not be within the port complex,” she said.
“There’s a need for holding bays to be outside the port complex, that way we regulate the traffic going into the port complex.
“So we’ll holistically review all these and determine what it is that is applicable as it relates to holding bays inside the port complex and also outside.
“Because, indeed, the Nigerian Ports Authority has properties as we’ve sighted now, locations that are owned by the Nigerian Ports Authority that can be used to provide such services.
“Such services, of course, at commercial rates, where people will pay minimal amount for a service where they can keep their trailers pending when they are called upon to come and collect their cargo.”
At the NPA dockyard, Ms. Usman was shown a floating dock, used for ship repairs, that had been left to rot away in the sea, since 2010; and a survey ship, Argungu, that hitherto was used for surveying up to Calabar and Warri, but had been grounded since 2006.
At the NPA Training School, she was told they had not had power supply from the national grid for over 18 months.