By Oluyinka Onigbinde
In view of the significance of Apapa and Tin Can Island ports to the nation’s economy, stakeholders in the Maritime sector have called on the Federal Government (FG) to act swiftly on the dilapidated access road, by granting terminal operators opportunity to repair the roads.
According to them, granting them two to three years-tax holiday as a way of compensating them for the cost will go a long way in helping to stabilize the sector as the economic hub of the country.
Thousands of Nigerians do their daily by in this domain, with many business concerns located in the area. But the poorest roads in Nigeria are also found in Apapa. The roads have been left in a shambles and utter neglect.
In a recent chat with the Corporate Affairs Manager SIFAX Group, Mr. Muyiwa Akande he emphasized that the deplorable state of the Apapa and Tin Can Island road has frustrated efforts of terminal operators on the Ease of doing Business initiative of the government.
He said, “issues of the port access road have become a nightmare, because of the comatose road and traffic gridlock experienced to and fro the environment.
“And this has made effort of the terminal operators on the ease of doing business imitative difficult, because at times it takes weeks for trucks to get to the port and weeks to get out.
“In fact many trucks owners do not wish to come to the port any longer because of the state of the road, except if they don’t have any other business to do that is when you see them in the port, this is bad for the economy looking at how much government earns from the port. He said
On way out, the image maker however in his opinion said “it will be good if the federal government can grant terminal operators the opportunity to repair the roads thereby granting them tax holiday for two to three years to compensate for the cost.
Also in a separate chat with Nigerian NewsDirect, the National spokesman for the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Stanley Ezenga said that granting terminal operator’s tax holiday as rebate for road construction will help in solving the menace and debt incurred by business owners in the vicinity.
“The concessionairing agreement did not favour the terminal operators, looking at the deplorable state of the road. But since government has failed in that regard, of course let them give an incentive for terminal operators to fix the road and then grant them tax holiday so that we will not be waiting for government, to do everything for us.
” This is because the government will continue to shift blame, the state government will say it’s a federal road while the Federal Government will say it is not captured in the year’s budget leaving the commuters and business owners to suffer and bear the loss.
“So, I believe if FG can grant the terminal operators the opportunity to repair the roads, it will go a long way to ease the pressure on the government he said.
However, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi held a contrary view as he opined that it is the function and the responsibility of the government to fix the comatose road.
“To the best of my knowledge, granting terminal operators license to repair the road is not the best. I believe government should empower the Agency in charge of the road to rehabilitate the road. I see it as a decolonization and this is not the best at all, government should wake up and do the needful,” he added.