Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, has lamented that the Authority incurred more than one N1 billion loss to vandalism during the recent #EndSARS protests in the country.
This was as the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) promised its readiness to partner with the NPA on goods evacuation from the ports as a way of solving the problem of gridlock on roads leading to ports.
The heads of the two agencies made these positions known yesterday in Abuja, during the 2021 budget defence sessions with the Senate Committee on Marine Transport.
Speaking during her presentation, Bala-Usman told the Senate Committee that N807 million had been earmarked for rehabilitation of the burnt portion of the agency’s building. She noted that this amount was different from monies to be spent on replacement of 27 vehicles set ablaze by the vandals and three stolen ones.
Her words: “These vehicles, being operational ones, need to be replaced as soon as insurance companies come up with the aspect of losses to be shouldered.
“Aside burnt building and vehicles, other working tools, like 317 computers, were looted as well as photocopiers, cost of replacement of which will be above a billion naira when added to the N807 million already estimated for rehabilitation of the burnt building.”
She also assured the committee that based on ongoing arrangement with the Lagos State Government and NIWA, the agency was coming up with lasting solution to gridlock experienced by trucks on roads leading to the ports in Lagos.
She explained that an electronic call up system had been put in place for trucks accessing the ports for evacuation of goods.
“Trucks Park has been established in Orile which is to serve as call up centre for any truck waiting to evacuate goods at the ports. Besides this arrangement, ultra-modern rail line leading to Apapa port and water transportation being offered by NIWA, are also helping out,” she stated.
In his own presentation, the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu, told the committee that the N3.9 billion budget estimates proposed for the agency in 2021, would be primarily implemented towards upscaling the development of inland water transportation in Nigeria.
He said that out of the N3.9 billion budget estimates, N1.3 billion was for recurrent expenditure, N1.4 billion for capital expenditure and N1.1 billion projected as remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
In his remarks at the end of 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 entire budget