THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is set to spend N91, 633, 107, 486 billion of its 2017 budget tagged ‘Budget of Infrastructural Renewal and Revenue Expansions’ on payment of wages, salaries and other expenses other than capital projects in 2017. This represents 36 per cent of the agency’s total budget, which stands at N233, 791, 484, 418 billion.
The agency gave this indication in Abuja during the presentation of its budget to the Senate Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways last Thursday.
According to the presentation, which was led by the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, the NPA will spend N142, 158, 376, 932 billion on capital projects in 2017 which will represent 55 per cent of the total budget for the year.
In a related development, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, revealed that political interference and considerations is one of the reasons impeding increased revenue drive in Nigeria’s Eastern ports.
Speaking recently during a One-Day Seminar with the theme ‘Making Nigerian Ports Preferred Cargo Hub in the West and Central African Sub-Region’, the NPA MD, who was represented by the agency’s Assistant General Manager, Corporate Planning & Strategy, Innocent Umar, explained that impediments towards increased revenue drive in the Eastern ports are political interference and considerations, injection of private interests, bureaucratic red tapes, youth restiveness and terrorism, lack of effective monitoring of our offshore operations and shallow depth of the long river channels.
On critical factors required to grow NPA’s revenue in Eastern ports, Hadiza Bala Usman, stated that, “to expand the revenue base of the NPA in the Eastern ports would entail the following: dredging of the channels to allow deep drafted vessels to come in.
“There should be continuous collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies towards ensuring security of the channels and waterways. Maintenance of the terminals and jetties towards tracking the tonnage handled so as to maximise revenue accruable from the cargo throughputs. It is especially important for the jetties as bulk of the cargo operation takes place at the jetties for handling of liquid bulk.
“We also need virile port promotions to increase port patronage. These efforts would increase tonnage handled by the concessionaires and automatically our throughput.
“We also need effective monitoring of our offshore operations and conscious efforts to run port business along commercial principles.
“It’s also imperative that the passing into law of the proposed Ports & Harbours Bill should be done to give proper delineation and extension of the ports limit.”
SOURCE: The Nigerian Voice (local news)