“ETO Working, Extortion and Other Issues Affection Port Efficiency”-Group
VIN has issues yet unresolved
The Advocacy for Maritime Development Association of Nigeria (AMDAN), has commended the Mohammed Bello Koko led management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, on efforts made thus far to reposition the ports for greater economic opportunities for port users and the citizens.
AMDAN President, Mr. Oluwasegun Alabi who made the commendation at a round table discussion with members of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), also stated that there are considerable improvements in trucking and vehicular movement within Apapa.
According to Alabi, “Eto is a the outcome of collective efforts and not just NPA. As a truck owner, I can tell you authoritatively that as at today, the Eto system is working efficiently. Between 2018-2019, accessing the port was very difficult compared to what obtains today. With Eto things are better. No system is perfect; it is work in progress”
“Few years back, the cost of trucking container from Apapa to Ikeja, you pay as much as N600, 000 to N700, 000, but as at today, taking a 40ft container is N250, 000. The price of trucking has come down. Eto has succeeded, all we need to do is to give it time and allow it attain perfection”, Alabi said.
Speaking further on the ETO initiative, the AMDAN President noted that ETO has overcome the teething challenges it encountered when it started.
“When ETO started, there were complains that there were manipulations and other issues, ETO is sophisticated. If any truck accesses the port, ETO sends the owners an SMS. We must admit that it is working and it can only get better”.
Addressing other issues affecting competitiveness of Nigerian ports, Alabi observed that the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has a lot of work to do if the ports are to become attractive to port users with the West African Sub Region.
Specifically, the AMDAN helmsman noted that the Vehicle Identification Number, VIN as introduced by Customs is good by there are lingering issues to resolve.
For Instance, Alabi disclosed that “If you bring in 2008 vehicle and input the VIN, the minimum age starts from 2013. You are going to pay 2013 duty for a 2008 vehicle”.
“That is the problem we are still having because there is no place for 2008 vehicles on the VIN platform, hence they still need to get a manual valuation, which is not good”.
“We understand why government is discouraging older vehicles. It is to give opportunity to local manufacturers, but have they started rolling out? At what cost have those who have started rolling out do so? We are saying government should give everybody a level playing ground. Let Nigerians choose. Only few Nigerians can afford 2019 vehicles” Alabi said.
Lamenting the pains truckers go through in the hands of extortionists within and outside the ports Alabi said “I use to think that it is only at the ports they extort. Outside the ports they also extort. Official and non-official ticketing, police extortion, area boys – so extortion is all over the place and not only at the ports. We want extortion to end everywhere because it is giving us problems”.
Asked to speak on what led to the formation AMDAN, Mr Alabi said, “Advocacy for Maritime Development originated from the freight forwarding profession, but that is not to say that in future we cannot absolve others. We are planning to do that. Our core objective for now is to promote our association because we are less known in the industry prior to this time. We are evolving and we are going to metamorphose. We are going to absolve others arms of the maritime industry, but for now, let us manage our freight forwarding sector”, Alabi emphasized,