– As NPA continues to give 6 months extension
Lagos — The immediate past Federal Executive Council, FEC, under President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration turned down the applications for the renewal of concession agreements by four terminal operators for failing to meet the Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, and other benchmarks.
Meanwhile, a source at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy said that the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mr. Muazu Sambo, could not get the new concession agreements approved by the FEC because gaps were identified in the presentations for the renewal.
Recall that the former Minister gave a marching order to the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to conclude the Port concession renewal agreement within a specific period of time before the exit of the regime.
The source also stated that the Minister was, however, directed to take the application on a case-by-case basis for clarity and ease of performance review.
The source added, “We hope the new Minister will take it from where the former Minister stopped and conclude the process of renewing the concession agreements.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Mark Wash, Executive Director of ENL Consortium, one of the terminal operators, told SweetcrudeReports that they have been getting six months extension from the management of the NPA, a development they are stuck with and not being able to do much with the short extensions.
Wash said that most of the terminal operators have met the requirements for the renewals and waiting for the FEC to approve the applications.
Wash explained that the applicants have gone through the performance audit of the relevant government agencies successfully and their applications sent to FEC.
Wash who spoke to SweetcrudeReports on the sideline of the celebration of the 74th independence anniversary of the People’s Republic of China held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, also said that continued six months extension period is not good enough as terminal operators cannot do much within the period by way of planning and strategizing.
He disclosed that the applicants are asking for between 10 and 20 years concession period in the next round of renewal of concession agreement.
According to him the Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, were all involved in auditing the concessionaires before their applications were referred to FEC.
The four applicants that submitted their renewal applications are Port and Cargo, operators of Terminal ‘C’ in Tin-Can Island Port, ENL Consortium Apapa Port Complex, AMS Terminal Warri and Joseph Dam also in Tin-Can Island Port.
He explained further, “Like any other businessman, you will need time to plan and execute these and six months is not long enough time to do that.
“If you are looking at six months, what can you do in six months. When you have ten years, or 20 years, then you know how to organize yourself.
“Some concessionaires are asking for 10 years while others are seeking 20 years; Different investments for different operators’’.
Efforts to speak with the Media Consultant to the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Dr. Bolaji Akinola, was futile as several calls to his phone line were not answered.
A source close to the STOAN said that the delay in approving the applications for a new concession agreement is making operators lose money and delaying investment in new equipment and infrastructure.
The source explained that there are equipment with life spans that must be replaced after some time but the non-approval is not allowing that to happen.
The source also said the FEC could not approve the applications because the voluminous document of 800 pages could not be read by Council members because they got the document two days before the FEC meeting.
“Council members also had other numerous documents they needed to attend to and they advised that the applications be submitted on a terminal by terminal basis for ease of perusing.”