Heads of government and public sector organizations operating in the ports are still at a loss on account of the statement made by the minister of finance, Dr Shamsudeen Usman last week concerning reduction of port charges.
At two of the chief executives of government agencies and two chief executives of terminal operators who spoke to Shipping Position Weekly on the matter expressed divergent opinions.
The heads of government agencies who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the minister was referring to regulatory agencies. Similarly, the terminal operators declared pointedly the minister couldn’t have been referring to them.
The minister had told journalists at a press briefing where he disclosed decisions of the federal government concerning how to achieve goods clearance from the ports within 48 hours after their arrival.
Usman had stated that government had approved “across the board reduction of 30 per cent of charges, fees and fines by all regulatory agencies”, because, according to him, these agencies “are not revenue generating agencies”.
He also announced the abrogation of rice levy, textile levy, sugar levy, Nigerian Ports Authourity terminal charges as well as plant hire charges, among others.
The decision to review these charges was informed by the findings of the inter-ministerial committee on 48 hour cargo clearance.
According to the minister, the committee came up with 19 major findings and 84 recommendations, out of which he announced the decisions to reduce port charges and the reduction of the number of government agencies in the port as well as removal of sugar levy, rice levy and other sundry charges.
On the decayed infrastructures in the port, then ministerial committee recommended continued collection of the seven per cent port development levy to be used strictly for development and maintenance of port infrastructure.