PORTS CONCESSION: MINISTER GIVES CONDITIONS FOR RENEWAL OF AGREEMENTS, PROMISES QUICK PASSAGE OF NSC AMENDMENT BILL
By Abdulateef Bamgbose
The Minster of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has spelt out conditions that must be met by respective companies before ports concession agreements with them could be renewed.
Sambo said companies seeking renewal of ports concession agreements must show satisfactory evidence of performance in terms of fulfilling the agreements, meeting key performance indicators and other obligations incumbent upon them.
The Honourable Minister, who made this known during an official visit to the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) in Lagos, said ports reforms were meant to achieve efficiency in ports operations, increase cargo traffic and improve revenue; adding that these would be key considerations in renewing concession agreements.
While placing the responsibility of approving ports concession agreements renewal on the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Minister charged the Agency to be meticulous in the screening process and to drop any company that could not satisfy the conditions for renewal of the agreements.
“The renewal of the concessions should be based on the performance of the company that was handling it. Get the ports concession agreements that were signed in 2006, identify all the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each terminal that is due for renewal, look at their performance in terms of meeting these KPI’s including development plans, cargo traffic, revenues and other obligations that were incumbent upon them”.
“Where a terminal operator’s concession should not be renewed, you must be bold enough to say it should not be renewed because they have not been able to match the target that were set for them and we will look for other companies that will meet the conditions’, he said
On the Nigerian Shippers Council Amendment Bill, the Minister charged the Ministerial Committee set up to review the document to expedite work on the assignment and promised to put in his utmost effort to ensure that the Bill is passed into law before the end of his tenure as Minister.
The Minister, exercising the powers conferred on him by all extant laws, directed the Nigerian Shippers Council, as the regulators of the ports, to establish a ports community system in the country.
“Even other neighboring countries, like Republic of Benin, have a port community system working for them. The responsibility is on Nigerian Shippers Council to get the Ports community system working. Get a working model from another country and replicate it here. We must have a Ports community system working in Nigeria before the end of this administration”, he said.
The Minister recalled the significant achievement so far recorded in the implementation of the dry Ports projects and urged the Shippers Council to work towards the successful take off of the dry Ports in other designated areas of Jos, Aba, and Ibadan.
He said the President has approved that oil cargo tracking should be handled by the Ministry of Transportation, as the traditional role holders of cargo tracking, adding that this responsibility falls on the Nigerian Shippers Council. He advised the Agency to justify the confidence that the President has placed on the Ministry.
On the issue of terminal charges, Sambo said there have been complains of high terminal charges by terminal operators. He advised that approved template for terminal charges should be adhered to and that the NSC should embark on massive enlightenment on the approved charges and should provide a platform through which importers can report terminal operators that charge beyond the approved rates.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime commended the Minister for his leadership excellence,noting that the Minster has promoted cooperation, collaboration and synergy amongst all the Agencies in the Ministry of Transportation.
He appreciated the Minister for constituting a Ministerial Committee to review the NSC Act and expressed optimism that the Bill would be passed into law before the end of the Minister’s stay in office.
He said the recent commissioning of the Dala Dry Port in Kano State and the declaration of the Funtua Dry Port in Katsina State as port of origin and destination attest to the competence of the Minister.