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Five Operators Concession Agreement Expire As NPA Fumes Over Poor Port Development

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Abiola Seun

 

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), over the weekend, said concession agreement between the federal government and five terminal operators operating at the nation’s seaport has expired.

 

Speaking in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, the managing director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, however, stated that the authority will tighten its noose against terminal operators operating at the Tin-Can Island and Apapa Port in other to make them take on major responsibilities in port infrastructure development and rehabilitation.

 

 

 

However, the NPA MD said the federal government will secure commitment from terminal operators whose lease agreement have expired and others on the rehabilitation of the dilapidated and decayed port infrastructure.

 

According to him, the government has extended the lease agreement by another six months, and working on a new agreement on development of key infrastructure and decayed infrastructure

 

 

He said, “there are five concession agreements that have expired and each of them had different dates, but at the point of expiration, the then legal agreement said they can apply and they will just renew. But, unfortunately, after the concession agreement the Infrastructure Commission Regulatory Commission (ICRC), act came up and the ICRC act required that there should be a new tender and a bid.

 

“You see that there is a conflict and the minister said, incidentally these terminals are in the worse state, what are they going into now is that NPA requested their development plans and we had to go to ICRC to get certification and so on and so forth.

 

“Though, they have been given temporary extention of six months and the essence is to ensure that the right things are being done here and that we have value for money because today, if we ask people to bid, the new bidders will naturally pay NPA higher than what the current operators are paying and we know that.

 

“We have said we should meet on the table and let’s reach an agreement that is firm, an agreement that holds them responsible because in the former agreement, before I as MD of NPA or any of my colleagues can go into the terminal, you have to give them 2-week notice even if we are going for inspection purposes. We agree that this agreement are due for renewal and that is being worked on and they will be renewed as quickly as possible,” he said.

 

The MD while speaking, also disclosed that the Apapa, Tin-Can Island, Eastern Ports among others are old and collapsing but, the authority needs to rehabilitate those failing ports, as soon as possible.

 

According to him, that was the reason they needed commitment from the terminal operators on their development plans, but if they reneged and the authority sought money from international organizations, the operators will pay more in lease agreement.

 

He said, “we have a very old port and we can all attest to that. The eastern port we are complaining about, we all know the challenges of decaying infrastructure it has. We all know what is happening to it. it is practically collapsing, therefore, we decided that we need to focus our budget toward rehabilitation of those quay walls and other infrastructure. We also took holistic review of those decayed infrastructure and decided that it’s really important that we rehabilitate Tin-Can, Apapa and the other ports.

 

“What we have done is to start talking to lending agencies but we are asking the terminal operators that since they have operated this place for 10 15 years and some of them, their lease agreement are about to expire, how much money are they going to put back for us to renew it. We need to have categorical commitment from them on the development of the port and if we don’t, we either give it to someone else and if we go borrowing to rehabilitate the collapsed infrastructure, the bills will change, the rate will go up and if we don’t do that, they will keep managing those places and the places will keep collapsing.

 

Bello-Koko, further stated that the operators won’t want the NPA to stop their operation because they want to rehabilitate the collapsed quay.

 

“Because of their (terminal operators) financial interest, they won’t want us to stop what they are doing for us to reconstruct the place and we have had interest from world bank, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and AFREXIM banks. We know that world bank gave money for NPA to construct part of Apapa so many years ago we can go back to say we need funding again or we go to government to say can we be allowed to use certain percentage of money we contributed to the Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) to reconstruct the port,” he said.

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