Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, yesterday in Abuja disclosed that the revenue generating agency incurred more than a billion naira loss to vandalism during the recent #EndSARS protests in the country.
This came as the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) declared its readiness to partner the NPA on goods’ evacuation from the ports as a way of solving the problem of trucks causing gridlock on the roads leading to various ports.
The issue on losses suffered by the NPA through the vandalism inflicted on it by irate youths and looters who took advantage of the #EndSARS protests came up during the 2021 budget defence session the NPA had with the Senate Committee on Marine Transport.
According to the NPA boss, the sum of N807million had been earmarked for the rehabilitation of the burnt portion of the agency’s building.
This, she added, was different from the money to be spent on replacement of 27 vehicles set ablaze by the vandals and three others stolen.
Usman said: “These vehicles were operational ones, and they need to be replaced as soon as insurance companies come up with the aspect of losses to be shouldered.
“Aside the burnt building and vehicles, other working tools like 317 computers were looted as well as photocopiers, and the cost of replacing them will be above N1billion when added to the N807million already estimated for the rehabilitation of the burnt building.”
She, however, assured the committee that the agency, based on the ongoing arrangement with the Lagos State Government and NIWA, is coming up with a lasting solution to trucks gridlock on various roads leading to the ports in Lagos.
An electronic call up system, she explained, had been put in place for trucks accessing the ports for the evacuation of goods.
Accordingly, Usman said: “Trucks park has been established in Orile, Lagos, which is to serve as a call up centre for any truck waiting to evacuate goods at the ports.
“Besides this arrangement, an ultra-modern rail line leading to Apapa ports and water transportation being offered by NIWA are also helping out.”
In his presentation, the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu, informed the Senate committee that the N3.9billlion budget estimates proposed for the agency in 2021 will be primarily implemented towards scaling up the development of inland water transportation in Nigeria.
According to him, out of the N3.9billion budget estimates, N1.3billion is for recurrent expenditure; N1.4billion for capital expenditure and N1.1billion is projected as remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
In his remarks after the budget defence session, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central), told the agencies to scale up their projected revenues drive in 2021 for easy implementation of the budget.
“Be rest assured that this committee shall, through its oversight functions, monitor your revenue drive in 2021 as well as remittance into the CRF,” he said.