Amaechi to chair town hall on cargo handling charges

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Against the backdrop of a recent audit report that private terminal operators in Nigerian ports lost about N58.9 billion to rising foreign exchange scarcity and Consumer Price Index (CPI), among others, in eight years, a one-day town hall meeting on “Cargo Handling and Port Charges” has been scheduled to hold in Lagos to evaluate the state of port operations, quality of services and the factors that determine appropriate cargo handling charges.

The town hall scheduled for March 8, will be chaired by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and will feature stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and her Industry, Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, are special guests of honour.

Among subjects slated for discussion at the event are the level of competitiveness of Nigerian ports, templates for port pricing, availability and efficiency of cargo handling equipment, impact of foreign exchange and government’s fiscal policies and abuse of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) Protocol by shippers.

According to a statement issued by Mr. Okey Ibeke, publisher of Business and Maritime West Africa, organisers of the town hall meeting, since the concession of the ports to private terminal operators over 10 years ago, Nigeria’s economy has undergone fundamental changes characterised by exchange rate vagaries and fiscal policy reviews that have impacted substantially on the level of service delivery at the ports.

“Importers, manufacturers and other port users, alongside service providers, have a lot of outstanding issues, the failure of which to resolve, have affected the growth of the industry. These will be addressed at the town hall with policy makers and users of shipping services all poised to make their case,” Ibeke stated.

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