Barely a few weeks after Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo signed three executive orders to facilitate the ease of doing business in the country, the Nigerian Ports Authority appears to be working against that policy with its introduction of a N70,000 royalty charge on 40 foot containers coming into the country.
Why it’s bad
The NPA appears to have gotten its priorities wrong as it should concentrate its efforts on making port operations more seamless. The roads leading to the Apapa ports have been in a horrible state for decades, wasting man hours that would have been put to more productive use. The parastatal has yet to give an update regarding completion of auditing of its accounts. Absence of audited accounts have prevented it from accessing a port surcharge running into billions of Naira domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The additional levy could force importers send their containers to ports of neighbouring countries, then bring in the goods into land borders. Fewer containers mean less revenue will be made. Neighbouring countries thus stand to benefit from Nigeria’s unfriendly business environment. They may also decide to pass on the additional cost to consumers, thus increasing the cost of goods and services in the country.
The levy may also lead to a drop in the export of goods into the country. Large organizations often export raw materials to defray the cost of returning empty containers back to the country. The reduction in containers brought into the country, could thus lead to a drop-in export. At the end of the day, the Federal Government and the NPA lose out on both sides.