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Sierra Leone Business: SLPA wants to reform manual declaration of vessel

Malcolm Leigh making his presentation

The coordination between the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) and the shipping vessels are manual but the Authority wants its working to improve the network by investing in software to ensure that they have a liaison with shipping lines. This was disclosed by the finance officer Malcolm Leigh when asked by the Principal Deputy Financial Secretary Matthew Dingie on how they project their sources on their revenue streams and whether they do you have advance information from the shipping agencies. He said that over the years they have relied on a pattern of projection for the volumes and that if the Shipping Lines want to declare vessels they have to sit in a round table every day to say my ship will be coming tomorrow or some other day. The Authority he said would like to have it networked then they will be able to tell the number of vessels coming in a week’s time or month. “But for now it’s on a day by day, we meet and then they tell us we will be expecting one tomorrow or next week but they don’t go further than the mid-week to state what they are expecting not to talk about months.” PDFS Dingie then said that they are concerned about the revenue, because the expenditures are mostly sticky in terms of nondiscretionary cause of the high committed cost. The volumes, like marine charges which is the most significant part of their revenue which accounts for over 60 percent. For 2018, he said that they have a budgeted value of 419 and up to June the volume realized is 216, “I don’t know what has come in for July and August, but you are still expected to meet 434 by the end of the year” Dingie asked. He went further to query whether it is realistic, because Leigh said they are increasing on a pattern and that if for 2019 they are moving to 440 how realistic will they achieve the 434 volume this year. “What is the seasonal pattern and how do you get there?” Like he had mentioned it’s based on a pattern from past experience and with the 226 volumes they have received so far using basic logic, twice of that volume will give them 434. Dingie then interjected if they just expect half way in a year to get that, Leigh said yes as they only expect less during the rainy season but by November to December they expect the flooding to cover those holes, so that is the pattern generally and it has been working for them.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday October 01, 2018.

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