Electronic Truck Call Up System Will Tackle Extortion At Lagos Port-NPA
The Nigerian Ports Authority on Thursday said that its new truck call-up system will eliminate all the elements of extortion by government agencies as well as rent-seeking at the Apapa port.
The perennial gridlock in Apapa and Tin Can ports is expected to reduce with the launch of an electronic truck call-up system by the NPA.
The use of the truck call-up App dubbed the ‘Eto App’ will take effect on February 27, according to the Authority.
Having lost over N600bn monthly to gridlock in 2019, the Federal Government in November 2020 had decided that the traffic at the Apapa port would be resolved by the first quarter of 2021.
The electronic call- up system was also introduced as one of the solutions to the gridlock.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, during a monitored programme on Channels TV ‘Sunrise Daily’ said that despite the prospects of the innovation, there were push-backs from agencies and persons who were making profit from the process.
She expressed optimism that the electronic call-up system would eliminate all the elements of extortion and rent seeking that adds to the frustrations already suffered by businesses as a result of the gridlock.
The NPA boss said, “The electronic call-up is key as you are aware and you said anything electronic seeks to remove human intervention and in so doing it will eliminate the aspects of rent seeking, the aspects of extortion.
“It takes away that idea that an officer be it a Nigerian ports security or police force or LASTMA that person is now the person that gives you the authority to go into the port.
“So, that avenue where there are extortion possibilities and rent seeking will be taken away from people and of course there will be an element of pushback.
“But we believe that is the way to go, that is the future we must ensure that we deploy the necessary technology to assist and provide those platforms that are needed to move this country forward.”
Usman explained that the key aspect of the app was the establishment of a truck park that would address the issue of the gridlocks at the Apapa port.
She disclosed that the Lagos State Government has approved eight truck parks for the NPA across the state.
She said, “You see one of the areas around the gridlock is the need to have approved truck parks. When trucks do not have where to sit, at designated parking space then they just drive onto the roads and head towards the park and make our highways their car parking literarily. So, a key aspect of the electronic call-up is the truck park.
“We have a list of approved car parks. Eight truck parks have been so far approved by the Nigerian Ports and the Lagos State Government and all trucks that access the ports or that intend to access the ports going for drop off and pick-up of cargo have to start their journey from those approved truck parks. So you must go and park in the truck park and wait and use the electronic call-up to be called upon.”
In Nigeria’s busiest port, multiple verification by various government agencies has been seen as one of the critical causes of delay at the port.
But the MD said the truck call-up system was not designed to end the multiple verifications by multiple agencies.