President Buhari releases an order that could save the country $1.66 billion annually   


22 May 2019 : Everyone who has passed through the Apapa gridlock ( if you live in Lagos, Nigeria, you would have passed through it way more times than you would want to) has undergone pain that can not be explained to someone who hasn't gone through it.


The sheer agony of getting stuck on that gridlock for hours at a stretch not knowing when you would reach your destination became a nightmare for business owners and commuters due to the massive traffic caused by large vehicles and trucks..


Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has decided to find a solution for this woe once and for all, which not only drastically improves the commute but could potentially save the nation $1.66 billion annually.


In a statement issued on Wednesday, he directed immediate removal of trucks on Lagos bridges within Apapa axis and clearing of Apapa gridlock, along with the restoration of law and order to the nation's port axis within 14 days. These new directives would be achieved by the Presidential Taskforce team that would be headed by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo


“To facilitate this important assignment, operators of trucks and tankers have also been directed to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours."


"The Taskforce, which will report directly to the President, has included on its Terms of Reference the development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic; enforcing the permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway, and the development of an effective manual truck call-up system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system”.


"It also includes the implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, amongst others," the statement concluded.


The Taskforce dedicated to the mandate includes:

1) Kayode Opeifa, a former Commissioner of Transport in Lagos State, as the Executive Vice Chairman

2)Representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC)

3)Representative of Nigerian Ports and the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC).

4)A Commissioner of Police

5)Representatives of the Truck Transport Union

6)The Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Traffic 7)Management Authority and other relevant MDAs.  


The government also requested Nigerian Navy and all other military formations to extract themselves from traffic management duties in and around the Apapa axis, while military and paramilitary checkpoints in front of the ports and environs are to be deconstructed.

  

It, however, authorised LASTMA to move into Apapa as the lead traffic management agency while Nigerian Ports start the use of the Lilypond Terminal and Trailer Park A as a truck transit park. 


According to the Terminal operators in Nigeria, the country looses N600 billion monthly (about $1.66 billion annually) to the protracted gridlock at Apapa road.


As per a report by Dynamar, a maritime consulting firm, Nigeria lost 30% of its container traffic over five years due to massive congestion and the poor quality of its services at its busiest port, Apapa Port in Lagos.


Recently, a shipment of 50,000 tons of cashew nuts valued at $300 million was threatened at the port due to gridlock and inefficiency.


Reporting for EasyKobo on Wednesday , 22 May 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria

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