An Address Presented By Engr Joe Igbokwe, Chairman Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority at A Familiarization Meeting Held In Apapa On Tuesday August 23, 2016
The Sole Administrator, Apapa Local Government Area, Mr. Olumide Olayomi. Former Commissioner Lagos State, Mr. Tunde Balogun, my dearest stakeholders, Captains of Industry, Wet & Dry cargo dealers here present, gentlemen of the Press, ladies and gentlemen.
With joy unspeakable full of glories I welcome all of you to this first mini stakeholders and familiarization Meeting since we assumed office effectively here on May 26th 2016. Please recall that prior to this date the business of Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority was contracted to a Consultant, Messrs M-TOF Consulting Services LLP situate at 5 Randle Crescent, here in Apapa by the State Government in 2009 when the law was promulgated.
Since Lagos State Government took over three months ago, we have been communicating to you, the stakeholders. We addressed a Press Conference on May 26, 2016 to announce our presence. We have written letters introducing the New Management to you. We have visited your premises and sometimes spoke to you on phones. We appreciate those who reached out to us and crossed over immediately, we appreciate those who are yet to reach us, and we also appreciate those who shut their gates on us. We appreciate Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc for leading the way. We are humbled by this company’s sense of duty and cooperation. We also appreciate ELEPHANT GROUP, DANGOTE GROUP, KRBL, TOTAL NIG PLC, SAHARA ENERGY, ETERNA OIL, FATGBEMS.
As a government Agency, we are here not only to collect the Wharf Landing Fees but to be one of the harbingers of progress in Apapa and its environs. We are here to help attract development. We are to assist in restoring the past glories of Apapa, one of the foremost commercial hubs in Lagos and the home of the first seaport in Nigeria. We are here to synergize with you to make the difference in Apapa. We joined the cry for the rehabilitation of Wharf Road and Apapa-Ijora Bridge. Work is on-going there as I speak. We appreciate Dangote Group for their efforts to make that road motorable. I have seen them at work but more still needs to be done. While we wait for the government, this Agency has been filling the pot-holes with broken bricks as palliative measure pending the time comprehensive rehabilitation of the entire roads in Apapa and Tin-Can Island will commence. We will join other Nigerians to cry out until the needful is done in Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports road networks. This is a promise.
However, we expect that this is going to be symbiotic relationship. While we do our own duty as an Agency of government, we expect you all to show leadership by doing your own. Now while some of you have indeed cooperated with us, some of you closed their gates and doors on us. We plead that these gates and doors be thrown open for us to enter and talk business.
We do not think N1000 for 40ft container and N500 for 20ft container is too much for the owners to pay to the government. Again, cars are meant to pay just N300 while SUVs are to pay N500. But in most cases, the drivers in custody of these cars refuse to pay especially at PTML bonded terminal at Otto Wolf, Mile 2 and elsewhere. We do not think that N1000 is too much to pay for 33,000litres of wet products which is about 3 kobo per litre. Yes, some wet cargo companies have been paying for AGO, DPK and others but have resisted that of PMS even when there is partial deregulation in place. The same operators that will not pay LASG 3 kobo per litre of PMS go to pay Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) Branch (NUPENG) 20 Kobo per litre, AGO 30 Kobo per liter, DPK 30 Kobo per litre, LPFO 30 Kobo per litre, Oil & Gas Suppliers (OGS) branch of NUPENG get N2000 flat excluding PMS, Independent Marketers Branch (IMB) get N1000 flat for all products, Petroleum Station Workers (PSW) gets N1000 flat for all products etc. At 20 kobo per litre the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) collect (20 kobo x 33,000) N6,600 for PMS, and collects (30 kobo x 33,000) N9,900 for AGO.
Now the question is this: Why should associations/unions which are not responsible for the provision of amenities charge exorbitantly while the State Government which bears the brunt and burden of the wear and tear the roads are subjected to cannot collect a mere N1,000 on a truck laden with 33,000 litres of fuel?
Lagos State government and the local governments around the Ports are in dire need of support and encouragement at a time like this when the need to look inwards is imperative. You will agree with me that His Excellency, Governor Ambode has done extremely very well and he needs all the support from all and sundry to do better.
We have humbly and respectfully invited you here to know us and for us to know you. The management of Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority appeals for understanding as we strive to do this work. Since we came on Board, we have issued 240 Invoices to the various companies and got only 81 responses in terms of payments, representing 34%. This is not a good advertisement of what is supposed to be a cordial and symbiotic relationship. Let us see ourselves as partners and we promise to fulfil our own side of the bargain.
Government needs all funds for sustainable development. As we speak, Caulcrick Crescent, off Kofo Abayomi Avenue in Apapa is undergoing serious rehabilitation. Very soon, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, especially Liverpool to Tin-Can section will soon be rebuilt. Yet government’s revenue keeps dwindling and it is from sources like this that government can pool resources together to drive the positive change we all crave for.
The Lagos State Wharf Landing Fee law is very clear and we had availed all stakeholders copies in the past. Traditionally, government adopts appeasement policy as the first rule of engagement and it is when appeasement fails that force and coercion become inevitable. I do not think we should allow the rule of engagement between us to degenerate to that level of coercion because we all can allow reason to prevail for the good of all.
Once again, I welcome you all to our corporate office.
Thank You all for your listening pleasure. I te si waju ilu Eko loje wa logun.