The House of Representatives has mandated its House Committees on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, Customs and Legislative Compliance to investigate activities at the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal and other ports in the country with a vision to make them efficient and report back to the House in six weeks for further action.
The call was due to a motion,” Need to address the Under-Utilization of Ikorodu Lighter Terminal and Make It an Export Gateway”, sponsored by Honourable Babajimi Benson, member representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency.
The lawmaker moved the motion on the floor of the House on Wednesday, January 24, 2018.
Debating the motion, Hon. Benson stated that the Ikorodu Terminal, which has two large warehouses and adjudged to be one of the largest in the country, is one of the three lighter terminals constructed by the Nigerian Ports Authority to decongest major Ports in Nigeria, particularly the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos State.
The lawmaker is dismayed that rather than the facilities meeting up with the primary objectives they were established for, the multi-billion naira Federal Government investment is near moribund and operating below capacity thus contributing nothing significant to Nigeria’s economy.
He noted that with the economic situation in the country, “expanding the capacity of the Ikorodu Terminal to be an export gateway and putting its facilities to maximum use will open up the economy by increasing Nigeria’s non-oil export volume, create jobs, decongest other ports in Lagos State and further earn foreign exchange for the country.”
Honourable Nicholas Osai Osai, representing Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West and Ukwuani, in his contribution to the motion noted that the economy of Singapore strives on Maritime activities and that when the Ikorodu Terminal is revived, it will increase the job opportunities in the country.
“Our basic concern is good governance and what is good governance? Job opportunities to the youths,” he averred.
Commenting on the Motion on the floor of the House, the Leader of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, representing Surulere 1, said the House should make provisions for dredging the Ikorodu Terminal and upgrade it to a heavy terminal in the 2018 budget still under consideration by the National Assembly.
While supporting the motion, Honourable Jagaba Adams Jagaba, representing Kachia and Kagarko, stated that the major challenge with Ports in Nigeria is congestion.
“There is no reason to spend billions to construct light terminals when we are under-utilizing it.” He observed further that it is easier to clear goods in neigbouring countries than in Nigeria; he thus noted that by activating the lighter terminals in Nigeria, it will help to boost, not only the economy of Lagos State, but that of the nation as a whole.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yusuf Lasun and other honourable members also contributed to the motion.
After contributions from the honourable members, the House resolved as follows:
That the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Interior should direct the relevant agencies in their respective Ministry to submit memorandum to the House Committees on Ports, Harbours, Waterways, Customs and Exercise and Legislative Compliance on the current state of the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal(IKLT) and realistic efforts being made to restructure it to ensure its effective utilization.
The House also urged Nigeria Ports Authority and Nigeria Customs Service to put proper terminal operational procedures in place at the IKLT to ensure that overtime cargo containers are released to the owners with 50% waiver of all charges so as not to completely undermine Federal Government’s income and in the best interest of businesses and the Nigeria economy.
In addition, the House also mandated House Committees on Ports, Harbours, and Waterways, and Customs and Exercise and Legislative Compliance, to visit the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal (IKLT) for underground assessment and liaise with necessary stakeholders with a view to bringing the terminal to effective use and report back in 6 weeks.