The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the deplorable state of roads leading to Lagos ports – Apapa and Tincan Island – has accounted for the constant drop in the country’s revenue.
The LCCI stated that if the Federal Government failed to fix the roads urgently, the country’s revenue from cargo and the customs at the ports would keep dropping.
It stated this in a communiqué after its meeting on Wednesday, saying, “These ports account for over 60 per cent of the cargo into the country and an estimated 70 per cent of customs revenue.”
The Director-General of the chamber, Muda Yusuf, signed the communiqué.
It said that the poor state of the roads had had diverse effects on the private sector, the economy and the citizens.
The LCCI said the roads had become a threat to the citizens’ lives, arising from containers falling off the trucks.
“Several lives have been lost in recent past as a result of this,” he stated in the communiqué.
It read in parts, “Congestion at the ports has increased resulting from the delay in the evacuation of cargo from the ports.
“High demurrage paid by importers to terminal operators and shipping companies as a result of delay in the clearance and evacuation of cargo in the ports.”
The LCCI said there had been high cost of transportation for evacuating cargo because of the prolonged engagement of the trucks by importers arising from the delay.
It said there had been “serious” traffic congestion along the roads leading to the ports, “which often spills over into the Lagos metropolis causing severe traffic jam and loss of man-hours in Lagos.
It also said there were delays in getting raw materials and other inputs from the ports to the factory premises in Lagos and other parts of the country.
It added, “The LCCI, therefore, urges the Federal Government to fix these roads as a matter of utmost urgency as these are federal roads.
“We request that the trailer park under construction in the neighbourhood of the Tincan Island Port should be urgently completed to reduce the menace of trucks and tankers on Lagos roads. The LCCI gathered that this trailer park is 80 per cent completed already.”
The LCCI also said it welcomed the introduction of the Treasury Single Account because it would lead to a reduction in leakages of government revenue, and improvement in the fiscal stability of government of all levels, as well as improvement in the transparency of the fiscal operations.
“However, there is a need to put in place a framework that would ensure that the operations of the income generating Ministries Agencies and Departments of government are not crippled,” it said.
“Evidence of these is beginning to manifest in some of the government agencies as the day to day operations of some of them are already being affected. Financial obligations to suppliers and contractors are not being met, for instance.
“It is therefore necessary for the Federal Government to ensure that funds for operations of agencies whose activities impact directly on the economy and citizens’ welfare is made available promptly, without compromising the ideals of the TSA,” it added in the communiqué.
By Pita Ochai