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NPA’s towage charges, ridiculous, retrogressive, non-competitive – Stakeholders lament 



Abiola Seun
Stakeholders in the nation’s matitime industry has urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to review its charges on towage, saying it is  retrogressive and non-competitive.

The stakeholders,  who disclosed this yesterday, said charging $3000 as towage service when the global average is $7000 is ridiculous.

They, however, called on the ministry of transportation to review the rates for the nation’s to meet global average.

Speaking, a former director, Shipping development, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Capt. Waredi edi Enisuoh, said NPA is running charity with its services.

According to him, “in terms of harbour operations in Nigeria, NPA is literally operating a charity service when it comes to tugs operation.

“Whether it is due to cheap local labour or provider, NPA should be highly commended. In western climes, tug rates are very high and charged based on several factors.”

“I dont know how cost will not be jacked up, when diesel was less than N10 when NPA rate was fixed, exchange rates for spare parts  purchased abroad was N33 -$1.

” Maintaining the 1993 cost is not realistic. Particularly, now that majority of the towage services are performed on behalf of the Authority by private firms.”

“The prices of tugs are very heavily regulated and on a port by port basis. To avoid exploits as the bottom line of their operation is to assist in the safe berthing of ships, which is a compulsory requirements, operators could take undue advantage of the industry’s regulation.

“Having said that, Nigeria operates a unique port system. The reason the rates differ in the above document is the fact that  the ports are operated by the States and no two environments have exactly the same challenges when it comes to safety”

Also speaking, Ahmad Yakubu Wanka,  said NPA still pays the difference between the actual cost and the prescribed cost. It is the case of using good dollars to chase bad ones.

According to him, it is unrealistic for NPA to continue subsidizing a commercial service.

He said, “it is unrealistic for us to continue subsidizing a commercial service”

“NPA purchases tugboats at an exorbitant cost every year, maintains them with forex and pays it’s partners in forex. Remember, even in Freetown, nothing is free any longer. The pricing is sheer welfarist consideration in a purely capitalist environment.”

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