Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Apapa Gridlock Lessons Can Generate Billions For FG, Lagos & Ogun States

Generally in life, when people are faced with challenges, they tend to focus on fixing the issues only and this is done at the expense of the other opportunities and possibilities that the challenges present. The challenges of the Gridlock in Apapa throw up a number of questions that can provide a lasting solution and prevents a repeat of this ugly incident. 

The questions include the following: why must all the trucks bringing goods in or taking goods out of Apapa ports enter the Lagos metropolis? Why must all the goods coming in or going out of Apapa port be transported by roads? Why are we thinking only about rail to ease the movement of goods in or out of Apapa port? Why are we not considering other cheaper alternative.

It is a common saying that if you do things the same way you have always done it and expects a different result, then such an individual have a flavour of insanity. In my opinion, the pains of loss to individual companies and the Nigerian economy in general from the current issues of gridlock in Apapa should make us to begin to think differently. The current issues is indeed a blessing in disguise in the sense that it should make us to begin to consider alternatives in transporting goods into the port and these can lead to the generation of more revenues in Billions on Naira for Federal Government, Lagos and Ogun states.

There is an alternative that will make the road being constructed in Apapa to last longer. It will create more jobs and open up new areas of settlements. It will open up a new business opportunities and create more wealth. It will not put the truck drivers out of business and yet it will reduce their cost of fuel consumption and losses resulting from the delay they face in entering the port. It will save exporters from the debts that they incur from delays, documents discrepancies, demurrage fees, detention fees and defective goods. It will also save the nation from the decline in the non-oil export volume. Finally, it will not cost the federal and state government too much money like railway construction but generate more revenue for the Government.

This alternative is the use of the Lagos water ways to transfer containers from Ikorodu area of Lagos and related parts of Ogun state to the Tincan Island and Apapa ports. All the governments of needs to do is build a terminal and warehouses in the related areas of the states and afterwards divert all trucks carrying both full and empty containers for export to these terminals. So any of these container carrying trucks, especially those coming from outside Lagos, will go to this terminal for inspection by the buyer’s inspection agents and all the other relevant government agencies and also do custom clearance using all the relevant pre-export documentations. 

Upon completion of the clearance processes, the goods can be loaded inside the containers (if not already loaded) and the containers can be placed on a barge ( a flat-bottomed ship, built mainly for river and canal to transport heavy goods) which will then transport the containers via the waterways from the these terminals to Apapa and Tincan Island ports. In order to avoid demurrage, the containers will be transported from the outskirt terminals via waterways to the ports based on the date of arrival of the Vessels scheduled to ship the containers out of Nigeria. 

Finally, if this new arrangement is implemented, it will be of immense benefit to the exporters, terminal operators, Federal Government, Lagos and Ogun States and the Nigerian economy in general. For the exporters, it reduces the cost resulting delays, demurrage and debts. For the terminal operators it creates new business opportunities and increased revenue. For Lagos and Ogun State will reduce traffic within the city, increase tax revenue and all these will be increase economic activities, facilitate job creation, enhance the growth in non-oil export volume and consequently give the gross domestic product and per capital income a boost.

Bamidele Ayemibo

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