Akanni Balogun (Coordinator, ANLCA Tin Can chapter)
The concessionaires are working well, all they need to do is about the unilateral increase in their charges and this is the duty of the government regulatory agency who are in charge, that is the shippers’ council, also, we as stakeholders need to sit down with them before they can increase their charges, why are the shippers council allowing them to increase their charges unilaterally. Concession is the main reason Nigerian port is still functioning till date, I remember back then, you may have a container block-stacked at Tincan port for more than three months, if you want to book for examination, you have to wake up and get to the port before 6am and start bribing the operators before they can dig it out.
Joel Nwosu (Licensed Customs Agent)
The port concession exercise has so far brought to the fore that it was hurriedly entered into and that the leadership of this great country then was not futuristic enough in imagining its overall import to the economy, hence the need for an urgent review. Our experiences so far in the port concession exercise would have been handy in coming up with a holistic and pragmatic review exercise that will be beneficial to the country.
Jonathan Owoh (Clearing Agent)
It depends on the terms of the review and what they intend to review we would not know whether it would be favourable or not, we as stakeholders, we have not been consulted by the NPA to say that they want to review the port concession agreement and to find out which area is affecting us adversely. Specifically, the NPA should look into the activities of terminal operators like TICT, they are doing well in terms of cargo handling but their charges are just too high, a situation whereby they charge N12,000 per container in a day is very high.
Barrister Emmanuel Nwagbara
I was one of the persons to challenge some of the expertise management system in view of the port concession agreement. I am one of the lawyers that took the matter of excessive port charges to court and that matter is still pending at the Supreme Court as we speak. But one of the fallouts of the case is that it is agreed that a lot went wrong with the ports concession arrangement and this necessitated the executive intervention of the president in 2014 when it created ports economic regulator and made the Nigerian Shippers’ Council the regulator. The Shippers’ Council under that power of the regulation is supposed to carry out a lot of functions which will result to the reform of the ports. But a holistic reform will involve a renegotiation of the terms of the concession, but the legal problem here is that you cannot renegotiate terms before the expiration of the original terms. But we are also aware that some of the concession agreement have expired and renewed without holistically examining the terms of the concession.
Fred Ajuzie (NAGAFF)
From 2006 to 2018, there is need for the government to look into port concession exercise and activities of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, the Nigerian Ports Authority who are the regulators. The government has to also look into the shipping companies that do not have holding bays; these are some of the problems and at the same time the concessionaires. The time is enough for them to look into it, they have already gone half so there is need for them to revisit the agreement because they are not really doing well. APMT did well for some years and after that they started doing anyhow, when they are the leaders of terminal operators whatever they do others will copy, so, they need review, mostly the shipping companies. We are not really satisfied with what they are doing, they did well up till 2010 and since then they have been doing anyhow.
Kayode Farinto (ANLCA Vice President)
We all know that ports concession is long overdue for review, so I am one of those that have been clamoring for it to be reviewed. There are so many inconsistencies in the agreement like the issue of generalization. Since this government came on board three years ago it is unfortunate that they are compelling the terminal operators to pay their dues in Dollars. What it now means is that they will go to the black market and change the money into dollars and they are not even giving them the official rate and it has an effect. Of course the terminal operator will not do anything than to transfer the extra charges to the final consumer in terms of charges and all that. Secondly, in the concession agreement, it was stated that the NPA shall provide electricity and these things have not been done. Some of these terminal operators are actually running their office with generator. Another thing is that most of these terminal operators with the exception of SIFAX are still using the old equipment they inherited from NPA and it is against the concession agreement which says they should provide their equipment themselves.
Mr. Nnadi Ugochukwu (NAGAFF)
The government should review all parts of the concession agreement, there is need for the total review of the concession. They need to have terminal for imports and exports and provide empty container base.