Group faults NPA, says electronic call-up system a modernized extortion tool


Barely two weeks after the introduction of the electronic call-up system for trucks operating at the Lagos ports, a freight forwarding group, Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON) has described the truck transit parks as well as the electronic call-up systems as a modernized extortion tool through the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) application.

CREFFPON in a statement in Lagos at the weekend by Forwarder Edwin Chukwudire-Obi observed that from its findings, apart from the payment of ten thousand Naira (N10,000) per truck using the platform, each transport company was made to pay additional forty-three thousand Naira (N43,000) at the commencement or registration point for the opening of a e-wallets for the trucking company.

“Surely, this is an indication of a business driven platform not majorly a value adding platform as it proposes to be. It is a clear pointer to the high level and mindless extortive, carefree attitudes of the initiator”, it said.

CREFFPON noted that it perceived this arrangement as a calculated stand point that further suggested reasons why the eastern ports would not be administratively made to operationally and sustainably thrive for even developmental spread thereby creating even competition and promoting the concept of competitive edge in the port Industry.

“If ten thousand is paid by trucks compelled to use the platform, you can imagine the payment of N10,000 × trucks round trip to evacuate, using a minimum pick up process containerized imports ton at 800,000 TEU in a year (from available statistics, the estimated annual cargo traffic at Apapa port is recorded at 1.2m TEUs). Indeed extortion enterprises”, the group stated.

The group also noted with concern, the unregulated exploits and extortion of the emerging barge operations in the cargo clearance system among others adding that the military and traffic agencies were not left out of this unholy alliance, even doing so in commando styles.

According to CREFFPON, “The Area boys (street urchins) and the officials of the local government authority are also neck dived in this extortion arm-twists.”

On the recent border closure by the federal government, the group said, “Without narrowing into the nitty-gritty of the extortive acts, we make bold to also state that the recent closure and reopening of borders has its contributory factors of extortion. The CREFFPON is still collating facts and data in relation to the business implications of the border closure on our profession in particular and the country at large and shall, in due course, release the result of our findings.

“It is in the light of the fore going  that the CREFFPON calls on the Federal Government (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) to take a cursory look at the happenings in the maritime (port) industry as enumerated above to stem all manner of extortion and sufferings in the port system which multiplier effects is passed on to the consuming public.

“We urge the federal government to widen and focus its searchlight on the port industry. Equally, it should consider the need to evolve a new shipping policy to cushion these thriving acts of extortion.

“The CREFFPON may be compelled to mobilize both the trading public and international trading partners if these unwholesome acts of extortion and exploitation continue. Obviously, we can no longer fold our arms and allow the continuous financial investment loses and calculated arm-twists against the trading public (who are our clients) via this man made extortion mechanisms.”

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