The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured the Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation that the ongoing consideration of renewal of port concession agreement will be concluded within the next 45 days.
Speaking to newsmen on Friday during a tour of Tin-Can Island port, Minister of Transportation; Engr Muazu Sambo insisted that renewal of concessions for terminal operators should be concluded before the end of the current administration in May 2023.
Recall that the review of terminal operators’ concession agreement has been ongoing for more than three years with several terminals operating with expired concession agreement.
Sambo also said that the government can no longer wait for the extension given to terminal operators for the renewal exercise to be concluded.
He said: “We are not going to wait for six months’ extension given to the concessionaires, I do not have six months. I will make sure that the concession are renewed in the 45 days.
“If the renewal of concession of the terminals is not done in 45 days, hold the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority responsible.
“As you will recall, I was posted to the Federal Ministry of Transport on the 6th of July 2022. This is my second official assignment outside Abuja, the first was last week when I went to Kano to declare the Dala Inland Dry port opened as a port of origin.
“Today we are in Lagos the Maritime Headquarters of Nigeria. The purpose of coming to Lagos is to look at the ports and related infrastructure that are suppose to support maritime activities. As you all know, the ports are the gateway to the nation’s economy and like I said earlier on if we get our acts right, the maritime industry can replace revenue from the oil and gas industry.
“That is why we are here to see how we can support the port Authority in order to improve their deteriorating infrastructure. I have also advised the NPA to put a preventative maintenance programme in place so that this infrastructure can be maintained from time to time and that is why in every port, you have an engineering department headed by the Chief port engineer.
“Part of his responsibility is to draw up preventive maintenance programmes for the ports under his jurisdiction every year, take to the Headquarters for consideration and approval and that forms part of the authority’s budget. If you carry out preventive maintenance, a lot of this deterioration taking place will be avoided.
“I just saw the deterioration at the quay side and I am not happy with what I saw, we are going to give it priority attention and again like I told you there is absence of maintenance.
According to Sambo, all necessary factors have been factored into the new agreement which is expected to correct the shortcomings in the first concession agreement.
He however commended the efforts of terminal operators in transforming port operations over the years even as he appreciated the massive job opportunities availed Nigerians at the terminals.
At the Tin Can Island Port, the Minister inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port Quay Apron, and directed the Managing Director of NPA and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
Sambo was accompanied on the tour of Lagos ports and railway by the Managing Director of NPA, Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko; Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh.
Also among the entourage was the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria and executive directors of other transport agencies.
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