Collapsed Lagos port infrastructure missing in 2023 budget
FG allocates N10m to eastern ports
Nigeria may lose its two major seaports to total infrastructure collapse as the Federal Government excludes Apapa and TinCan Island ports rehabilitation from the 2023 budget presented to the National Assembly last week.
The Federal Government allocated N126 billion to the Transport Ministry, out of which only N10 million is proposed for the implementation of strategies for the rehabilitation, ultilisation and patronage of Eastern ports.
Nothing is allocated for the rehabilitation of the two major seaports in Lagos State.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, had promised to facilitate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the seaports, which are in a state of decay.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said over $600 million was needed for the rehabilitation/reconstruction projects of seaports across the country.
According to the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the seaports being considered for rehabilitation/reconstruction are Apapa, and Tin-Can Island, Calabar, Warri, Koko and Burutu ports.
“We are working towards requesting the government’s approval to use a certain per cent of our revenue to fund the reconstruction of Tin Can port,” he said.
Also in the budget, N20 million is allocated for the assessment of agencies under the ministry of transportation, including the NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, and the Nigerian Shippers Council.
Meanwhile, MAN and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) are allocated N1.5 billion and N775 million respectively.
A source close to the NPA said, although some terminal operators want to undertake the rehabilitation of the ports but argued that it is the responsibility of the agency.
“It is the responsibility of the NPA; the agency is looking for funding options, we are looking for the best options for it. Some terminal operators want to undertake the project, but we do not want to let one person do it,” the source said.
Reacting to this, Vice President of Business Action against Corruption, Integrity Alliance, Jonathan Nicol, queried why shippers were tasked to pay a seven per cent port development fee for 30 years if the government would not fix the ports.
“Shippers pay a seven per cent surcharge for port development levy across the country. The seven per cent surcharge is a levy for every cargo that comes into the ports. Shippers have been paying that levy for 30 years, it was introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“It is enormous money for the development of the ports, which has not been used looking at the state of the ports. The question is why do shippers have to pay for port development levies when the ports have been concessioned because concessionaires are supposed to develop their own space at the port, which they rented from the Nigerian Ports Authority? It is their duty to develop it and not that of the shippers to do it for anybody,” he said.
The General Secretary of the Association of Bonded Terminal Operators of Nigeria, Haruna Omolajomo, lamented the poor state of infrastructure and the poor attitude of the government towards their repair.