By Musa Baba Adamu
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, lamented on Monday in Abuja that the revenue generating agency incurred more than a billion naira loss to vandalism during the recently ended #EndSARS protests in the country.
This is as the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) declared its readiness to partner with NPA on goods evacuation from the ports as a way of solving the problem of Trucks gridlock on roads leading to ports.
Questions on losses suffered by NPA from act of vandalism inflicted on it by irate youths and looters during the #EndSARS Protests, came up during 2021 budget defence session the agency had with the Senate Committee on Marine Transport.
According to the NPA boss, the sum of N807 million had been earmarked for rehabilitation of the burnt portion of the agency’s building.
This she added is different from monies to be spent on replacement of 27 vehicles set ablaze by the vandals and three outrightly stolen.
“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 N807million already estimated for rehabilitation of the burnt building”, she said.
She however assured the committee that the agency, based on ongoing arrangement with the Lagos State Government and NIWA, is coming up with lasting solution to Trucks gridlock on roads leading to the ports in Lagos.
An electronic call up system she explained, has 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 added.
In his own presentation, the Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu informed the committee that the N3.9billlion budget estimates proposed for the agency in 2021, will be primarily implemented towards upscaling the development of Inland Water Transportation in Nigeria.
According to him, out of the N3.9billion budget estimates, N1.3billion is for recurrent expenditure, N1.4billion for capital expenditure and N1.1billion projected as remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
In his remarks after 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.
“Be rest assured that this committee shall through its oversight functions, monitor your revenues drive in 2021 as well as remittance into the CRF”, he said.