How Budget May Not Impact On Ports Roads Network
By Gina Emmanuel
President Muhammadu Buhari during his national budget presentation of 2018 to the National Assembly said the government is keying into an extension of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line, which would connect Apapa and TinCan Island Port Complexes.
According to the president,the situation at the Apapa port complex is a top priority for his Administration. “The delays due to congestion and their adverse impact on business operations and costs is a key concern to our government. We are partnering with the private sector to fix the road. We shall do the right thing considering. We will not cut corners.
“This project will significantly ease the congestion at the ports and enhance both export and import operations. This project shall be completed by December 2018. Already, working with the private sector, we have repaired the Apapa Port Narrow Gauge Line which is currently being used to evacuate goods from the port, thereby easing congestion”.
However, Agents and importers in the maritime industry have said that overhaul of the road network would be more effective rather than focus on rail alone.
They expressed their disappointment, saying that they are not comfortable with the budget, especially since roads leading to Apapa Port are the focused agenda, while Tincan Port is not included.
One of them, who simply identified himself as Chucks noted that even the expected Exchange rate of N305/US$ for 2018 is still high when it comes to investment and clearing.
“I see this budget, though yet to see the breakdown as a prudent one that favours some sector than others. It does not have a clear cut agenda at all”.
Another Agent, Gbenga Olaniran ,who spoke to Gtechnews disclosed that what government could have done is to see how the trailers are taken off to a park, rebuild the Tincan road network, then the rail projection would have been an added advantage.
“Although, the government for the first time have presented this budget early enough unlike what we are used to, but so many things are just not right. Already, from the budget, government estimated revenue also lie in Tincan and Apapa ports. FG could do much better than this”, he said.
Meanwhile, the president said that Federal Government Revenue EstimateD total revenue is N6.607 trillion in 2018, which is about 30 per cent more than the 2017 target.
“As we pursue our goal of revenue diversification, non-oil revenues will become a larger share of total revenues. In 2018, we project oil revenues of 2.442 trillion Naira, and non-oil as well as other revenues of N4.165 trillion.
“Non-oil and other revenue sources of N4.165 trillion, include several items including: Share of Companies Income Tax (CIT) of N794.7 billion, share of Value Added Tax (VAT) of N207.9 billion, Customs & Excise Receipts of N324.9 billion, FGN Independently Generated Revenues (IGR) of N847.9 billion, FGN’s Share of Tax Amnesty Income of N87.8 billion, and various recoveries of N512.4 billion, N710 billion as proceeds from the restructuring of government’s equity in Joint Ventures and other sundry incomes of N678.4 billion”.
The President further stated that the infrastructure requirement to reposition Nigeria for the future is huge and “Our resources are limited. Government, therefore, will pursue private partnerships to maximise available capital and developmental impact.
“As we all know, sometimes doing the right thing takes time and requires sacrifices. I am therefore appealing to all stakeholders to work with us in ensuring we deliver a solution that we will all be proud of”.