…Says Cargo volume has dropped by 70 percent
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has decried the low level of business activities going on in their terminals describing it as a challenging moment for its members.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, the spokesman of the association, Mr. Bolaji Akinola disclosed that the operators of Roll in Roll out (RORO) terminals were worst hit as a result of the pending government auto policy that was initially billed to take off by April, 2015.
Akinola noted that RORO terminals in Nigeria were facing a lot of hardships in their operations thereby losing a lot of money because of auto policy.
According to him,” it is already affecting them. You see, generally, now we have talked about the fact that people are not importing because of the uncertain value of naira. So, that is on one hand. Then on the other hand, the effect is even worse for the operators of the RORO terminals because for instance, in January, 2014, vehicles imported through RORO terminals in Lagos area was 24, 000 units of vehicles and then generally, the volume ranges from the average of about 20, 000 units per month. That is the average for vehicles coming into Nigeria through RORO terminals”.
“The other Januaries before 2014, the average of 20, 000 units were imported in the country. Now, 2014 January was higher because that was when the auto policy just came in and government said they were going to start implementing the policy on July 1, 2014. So, in anticipation, there was an upsurge in importation. That was why that of January 2014 was about 24, 000 otherwise, it was always in the average of 20, 000 units of vehicles”.
“From the story, where I am even going to is that January this year, do you want to know how many vehicles that came into Nigeria through the RORO terminals, 6, 200 compared to January 2014 of 24, 000 and compared to other Januaries of average 20, 000 representing about 30 percent”.
He observed that they had done the analysis of Cotonou ports and discovered that their record showed that the units of vehicles cleared from their ports in the month of January 2015 was 50 percent higher than that of January, 2014 while that of Nigeria declined by between 60 and 65 percent in the volume of vehicles handled.
“The reason is that people are avoiding payment of high duty in Nigeria. So, they land them in ports of the neighbouring countries and drive them in with the hope and the plan of avoiding this high duty”, he said.
Akinola who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ships and Ports Communication Company also queried the existence of the made in Nigeria vehicles promised by the Federal government to be in the Nigerian Market within six months of the policy reminding that the policy had been there for over one year, yet, its effect were to be seen by Nigerians.
On why vehicle laddened vessels expected to arrive the country were not being displayed by the shipping position monitor of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) as done other commodities, he said,” that tells you that the volume has dropped, that is why I am telling you that right now, we are doing 30 percent of what we should do. The volume has dropped that is why you are not seeing it in the shipping position”.
“You know shipping position is vessels expected to arrive, so, if it is not expected to arrive, they won’t put it there. It is a problem and we want you to please enlighten the world about it”.