Customs Slams NPA For Fueling Apapa Congestion
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has accused the electronic call-up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) of the major cause of traffic gridlocks in Apapa, Lagos axis.
The agency also criticized some security agencies around the port entry roads as another cause of the gridlock.
The National Public Relations Officer of the service, Timi Bomodi, said this in an exclusive chat with our correspondent on Wednesday while renouncing the allegations that the NCS was impeding the free flow of traffic by intercepting cargoes at night.
The Presidential Standing Task Team had raised the alarm over the activities of Customs Police allegedly coming to the port access road at night to seize already cleared containers from the seaports.
Reacting to this, Bomodi said that the service would examine the allegation to know if they were true.
“They don’t have any way of verifying it, but we are going to verify it. If it is true, we are going to look at the reason why they are doing that. But if they are talking about congestion on the access roads to the ports, I think the biggest challenge is what they do – both the electronic call-up system by the NPA and other security agencies that are there. These have been the standard complaints.”
He also said that the team should focus more on the major cause of the problem.
“And for many months, we have not heard them raise so much of an issue on this very important part. We are not saying that we are downplaying their comments or their allegations. We are going to find out if their complaints are true or not. If they are true, we will let you know; if they are not true we will take action. But that is not the main problem of that road and we believe they should pay more attention to the main issue with that road.”
Meanwhile, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Ibrahim Nasiru, denied the allegation, saying that it was false.
“We don’t want to join issues with the sister agency. All of us know that over time, there has been a gridlock on that axis, and the government came in with the intervention of NPA, Flour Mills, and Dangote. They came on board and fixed the roads into the ports. Before the emergence of the electronic call-up system and many stakeholders have agreed, many of them would agree that ‘Eto’ has helped tremendously to reduce the gridlock on that axis; that is the testimony. So, it is not true for anybody to say that the electronic call-up system is causing traffic.”
He said that the platform had a tremendously reduced freight rate.
“It is just a figment of the imagination of people. The Eto has helped tremendously. If you can recall, before now, people were paying as high as N1.5m to bring in a container, but when the electronic call-up system came on board, people started paying as low as N100, 000 to take their cargoes out of the port. So, tell me, from this analysis, do you agree that the platform is causing traffic? If there is traffic, the price of taking cargoes out of the port would not have dropped,” he told.
source: Business Traffic