…Call on Coalition members to key in
The Corporate Truck Fleet Owners Association has called on their counterparts in the Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators (CPDCTO) to key in to the minimum safety standard for trucks as stipulated by the Nigerian Ports Authority for all trucks operating in the Western Ports.
The Chairman of the association, Mrs. Folake George who made this call on the sideline of the flag off of the implementation of Minimum Safety Standards by the Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi on Thursday in Lagos stated that her members had since bought into the NPA’s dream and were collaborating with it.
George who said that her members were in support of the N10, 000.00 entry permit fee per truck per annum disclosed that members of the association have registered their trucks as required by NPA and had passed the minimum standard set by the authority and had since been accessing the ports unmolested.
According to her,” We are in alliance with them (NPA) and we have started the take off of the N10, 000.00. We have registered and our trucks have passed the minimum standard and we have about 30 members including my company Al-hadiyat, ENL, Thom-Lee, Range, Dangote, Classic marine and others. We have membership of corporate truck owners of over 30 with about over 5, 000 trucks in our fleet and we believe in what NPA is doing.
“We don’t want people dying on our roads, we believe we should have good trucks to drive good business and we believe that if you go to any other ports outside of Lagos, you have entry permit, we believe that this N10, 000.00 is reasonable enough as entry permit per truck per annum”.
She noted that once one’s truck had been inspected and it meet the minimum standard of having twist lock, extra tyres, side mirror, pointers, all the lights and presentable trucks, such a truck would be give a sticker adding that, “ we have done that and we have met the standard, we have our stickers and once we have been given the sticker, our trucks have been going in and out of the ports, nobody is extorting them, we don’t have any other money that we pay at any point”.
She continued,” Before now, I used to give my drivers a minimum of N3, 000.00 but since after the registration, I don’t give any of my drivers any money and they are leaving the garages and they have been coming to do their operations without hindrance”.
She therefore appealed to the members of the CPDCTO who were bent on not paying the N10, 000.00 to key into the exercise so that they would have a conducive environment to operate in adding that it was cheaper to pay N10, 000.00 per truck per annum than what was obtainable at other ports in the country where truckers pay as much as between N200.00 and N500.00 per entry per truck.
“We are appealing to them to fall in line. We were together with them in a meeting yesterday, you know we had this meeting with the new commissioner of Police Western ports and they expressed their grievances, they are in support of the minimum standard but they are kicking against the N10, 000.00. we are appealing to them NARTO, AMATO and the others, they should fall in line and let us have a conducive environment to work in”, she pleaded.
Meanwhile, the members of CPDCTO had insisted that for them to key in to the exercise, the N10, 00.00 must be withdrawn as part of the standardization process.
Speaking in an interview with Primetime Reporters shortly before the flag off exercise, the Chairman of the Coalition, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed Inuwa informed that should NPA goes ahead to flag off the enforcement of the exercise, the Coalition would have no option to go back to drawing table to decide the next line of action.
He said,” We made it clear to them that in as much as they are going to flag off their enforcement, we are okay with the minimum standard, we support the minimum standard but the money aspect has to be withdrawn. If we have to be honest with ourselves, let the government carry out its responsibility which is putting the road in order and let us carry out our responsibility too.
“Should they go ahead with the enforcement exercise, our position will be to come back and strategize but we know we are not going to key into that because we have asked them so many questions on how they will eradicate the extortion which the GM confirmed that N5 billion is being extorted from the truckers and agents annually, up till now, nobody has come to ask who the beneficiaries are and they are asking us to key in first that they know what to do.
“So, it means that they are the ones aiding the extortion. Then we reminded them that the fee is a duplication of levy, the money which they said they wanted to use to maintain the common user facilities, where is the port development levy meant for the exercise? If they say let me pay N10, 000.00 per year without all these extortions, how can I not? But I will pay after paying the VEP which they are paying on my behalf, then I will pay another N10, 000.00 and then continue with the extortion, how can i?”, he queried.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing in this report, a meeting of the CPDCTO was ongoing at the NARTO office at Apapa. Although it was not immediately clear what the agenda of the meeting were, our correspondent reported that the meeting might not be unconnected with the flag off of enforcement of minimum standard as carried out by NPA on Thursday with a view to taking a decision on the forward for the coalition on the matter.
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