The House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways was on Thursday told why there is a continuous reduction in the influx of cargoes into the Nigerian ports and by extension, the revenue accruing to the federal government.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman while at the 2019 budget Defence of the Organisation before the committee, said federal Government policies are mostly responsible for the low traffic at the Nigeria Ports.
But the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Pat Asadu disagreed with her saying she was just scratching the surface with her prognosis and there were more profound reasons the country is losing the revenue at the ports.
The committee has asked the NPA boss reasons for the drop in ships and cargo performance at the ports.
The NPA boss said: “We have noted a reduction in traffic coming into our ports. We attribute this to the fact that Nigeria has been advocating for self-sustenance in terms of manufacturing and consuming what it produces.
“And so, this attendance reduction in cargo, in our understanding, is attributable to that. Because some of the items that constitute this drop include, for example, the automobile policy, which had increased the cost of importation of automobiles from 30 to 70 percent, in order to stimulate manufacturing in Nigeria. So, there is a steep decline in the importation of vehicles.
“We also have an additional list of items that have been banned for importation. This is to try to stimulate the production of certain items in the country and also ensuring that most levels of Agric produce are produced and consumed in Nigeria.
“So you can see the number of ocean-going vessels is reducing. The agencies that work around revenue generation for the importation of cargo will be seen not to have performed. She said items that used to be imported and consumed in Nigeria before are now being produced in Nigeria.
“But the committee chairman said: “I don’t want us to just dismiss this. You may want to look to see what other things are going on. I think maybe we should look at things like the efficiency of cargo clearance. We know what is going on with the congestions at the ports. I have no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of other factors.”
He said the euphoria that the country is producing more than importing certain items should not stop efforts to seek proper solutions to the problems.
Usman told the committee that the projected internally generated revenue for 2019 was N276.75 and net revenue from oil source is N255.69.
While total projected expenditure, she said, stands at N229.91bn and is made up of operating expenses N110.71 bn, overhead costs N52.13 bn and pension cost N58.58bn. Capital expenditure, she also said, is N119.21bn
Usman told the lawmakers that NPA hopes to remit N20.62 bn to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) from its projected operating surplus of N25.77bn.