Ports Concession: NPA Says Guarantee Minimum Tonnage Delaying Review Of Concession Agreement

  The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has fingered issues of Guarantee Minimum Tonnage (GMT) as one of the major reasons the  port concession agreement is yet to be reviewed.  The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, made this known on Monday in Lagos when a delegation of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) led by its national president, Chief Increase Uche paid a working visit at it's head office in Marina, Lagos. Hadiza also said that the agency felt that there is need to expunge the  clause from the agreement. She however said that there are still talks with the concessionaires to see what can be done. "Issues of Guarantee Minimum Tonnage (GMT) that we feel our minimum tonnage as a country we don't need to put such clause. But of course we are in discussion with the concessionaires to see what needs to be done" Hadiza maintained that there are considerations they are looking forward to reflecting in the agreement. "These are the main considerations that we are looking out to reflecting in the concession agreement" "These were recommended by the consultants that we engaged. We are working with the terminal operators and discussing with each one of them on this review" Explaining further, she said there are parts of the agreement that cannot be. "And we are looking at the agreement because there are some parts of the agreement that cannot be and we are watching and hopefully we will conclude within the shortest period" Hadiza urged the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to report some issues of non-compliance to the agency, adding that the NPA has the capacity to handle it. The NPA boss called for more synergy between the two agencies stressing that the NPA is doing the work of an economic regulator. "We are more of a temporary economic regulator and we will continue to do that" "We have encouraged synergy between NPA and Shippers Council requesting that some of these non compliance issues that they have noticed as economic regulator, if they could share that with us so that we can use the fact that we have instruments of contractual agreement and get them to comply" "And we look forward to having them to comply with the provision of information to enable us get them to comply"  "But in Nigerian Ports Authourity we have an agreement with them and some of their non compliance could be sanctioned"

She reiterated that as regulator, there should be sanctions in place for non-compliance. "But in the case of regulations, someone can be not be a regulator and there is no instrument of sanctions. I think, for such compliance to be enforced you need to have sanctions"

Also speaking the National President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche said that it is very glaring that the promises made during ports concession are not achievable.

He added that the way the nation's ports are going, it is becoming unattractive to shippers, adding that the nation is losing businesses.

"There is need to be patriotic, especially now that Nigeria has signed the so called AfCFTA" "So, all hands must be on deck for the ports to work, that is what we are advocating for. We want all those hindrances that have been preventing the growth of the ports to be removed. Trade must be facilitated and the ports must be seen to be efficient, transport efficiency must be combined so that we get that the needed result", he concluded.