The Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has saved the nation’s economy the sum of N5.4 billion ($12,350) from 2021 to 2022 as demurrage paid annually by ships.
Moses Fadipe, the national coordinator of PSTT, said this at the meeting of the Presidential Port Standing Task Team (PPSTT) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Fadipe said the amount represented an average of $20,000 per vessel demurrage per day.
He attributed the feat to the interventions of the PSTT in restoring order along the port corridors.
Fadipe said the interventions of the PSTT has ensured that over 85 per cent of vessels that came through the nation’s ports and terminals left without incident in 2021.
“Some others are drastic reduction in incidences of extortions by both state and non-state actors, and freer movement of vehicles and persons along the ports’ logistics ring. Though revenue generation is not the primary concern of the task team, deterrence through fine is one of the tools through which we are able to record our successes of ‘Operation Free the Port Corridors’.
“In the process, revenues to the tone of N1,023,000 have accrued to the Federal Government Treasury Single Account through fines,” he said.
According to him, the activities of the task team was a positive barometer, showing the teams contribution to the actualisation of the objectives of Executive Order 1 on ease of doing business in Nigeria as enshrined through the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).
He, however, expressed optimism that the successes would be sustained with good strategies of consolidation aimed at surpassing the previous gains.
Fadipe added that their achievements did not come without occasional hazards such as assaults on personal of the task team, which were carried out by private operators and high ranking government officials.
He also said that their operation was an offshoot of the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual, which its successful implementation has changed the corruption perception index by Transparency International about Nigeria.
On touting along the port corridor, Fadipe assured the stakeholders that it would be addressed in less than 30 days starting from April 3.
“It was realised that stoppage of trucks along the port corridor constitute the biggest encumbrance to the free flow of traffic and this breeds extortion and corrupt practices,” he said.
Fadipe said the Federal Ministry of Transportation had on April 14, 2022 flagged off the exercise to remove all illegal checkpoint and shanties along the port corridor to eliminate traffic gridlock and corrupt practices and impediments to ease of doing business.
“On strategies for the year, we will not dwell on challenges, we focus on the best we can do to achieve what we can within the resources in our disposals. This is the spirit that we will continue with,” he said.
Some of the stakeholders who commented during the meeting decried the activities of touts, non-state and state actors along the port corridor, urging the PSTT to look into it.
Mohammed Bala, a truck owner, said the extortion checkpoints that were removed had returned on the port corridor.
“The touts have technically crossed to the inbound section of the port access road and causing so much havoc there.
“Truckers are profusely bleeding due to the activities of these people. From Mile 2 down to Second Gate, these touts are littered there,” he said.
On his part, Aloga Ogogbo, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, said that the extortion was now taking place at odd hours.