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Nigeria loses N7.2tr yearly at ports, says Agbakoba

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A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has disclosed that Nigeria is losing N20b daily at the nation’s ports, which amounts to N7.2tr yearly.

He said a recent report by a Dutch firm, Dynanmar, showed that the country was losing such a huge amount at the Apapa ports in Lagos.

Agbakoba made the revelation in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday titled, “The Need for New Revenue Sources.”

He stated that the second area that could also generate substantial income for the country was trade facilitation, saying, “Trade is Nigeria’s second-largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but shockingly, the country lacks the critical and essential tools of trade facilitation-vessels and airlines.

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“So legislation has been proposed to introduce the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) and Air Nigeria. If our local content policy and laws are implemented in terms of trade facilitation, Nigeria can generate over N20tr and 10 million jobs within five years.”

He explained that the third area concerned land administration, stressing that a recent study showed that the housing inventory of the country’s property market exceeded $7tr, but most of which remained dead capital that could not be used as collateral for financial transactions due to lack of proper titles.

“Creating an efficient system of title deeds by introducing a Land Use Administration Act will release a lot of revenues into the system. If it is properly done, estimates suggest it can generate N30tr in five years.

“Looking at all these areas and without any serious study, it shows that we are almost at N100tr, but with deeper study, it is possible to hit the N100tr mark.

“Government should explore new sources of revenue to close the budget deficit and grow the economy by enacting the Strategic Revenue Growth and Recovery Act,” he declared.

Agbakoba, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for early release of the 2021 budget to reflate the economy, noted that while fiscal and monetary policies were broadly harmonised, fiscal policy would have been made more expansionary.

“Nonetheless, there is a budget deficit of about N7tr, so the big challenge is how to raise revenue.

Government’s Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI) is timely,” he said, stressing that revenue generation, jobs creation, economic growth, ease of process and reducing cost of governance and leakages were critical to economic rebound.

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