08 August 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Twelve years after the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, concessioned its operations to private terminal operators, the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, has commenced the review of the concession agreements signed by the Nigerian government and private terminal operators in 2006.
BPE’s Director-General, Alex Okoh, disclosed this in Abuja while addressing the House Committee on Privatization and Commercialization at an investigative hearing on the status and performance of the ports.
Okoh explained that a holistic review of the concession agreement was underway to ensure that the ports were put into the optimal performance, adding that the agency is also partnering the World Bank to provide needed capacity and technical assistance in that regard.
He said, “We are undertaking a complete review of the ports concession agreements to ascertain and harmonize issues affecting the optimal performance of the ports. The World Bank is to provide the capacity and the BPE is to serve as a confirming party.”
The BPE helmsman further noted that the review will also help to re-assess the values of leased assets as well as factors that inhibit the realization of the objectives of the concession such as poor dredging, dilapidated road infrastructure around the ports, inconsistent government policies and lack of regulatory framework.
Chairman of the Committee, Ahmed Yerima, harped on the need to ensure successful implementation of the agreement in order to attract more foreign direct investments into Nigeria.
The lawmakers mandated the BPE and the NPA to submit copies of the agreements to the terminal operators within 10 days and to conclude the review within 30 days.
The lawmakers also tasked BPE to expedite and operationalize the concession agreement in a win-win situation and in line with global best practices.
During the presentation, some of the concessionaires operating in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Calabar ports, frowned at the poor condition of the ports, high lease fees, and incidence of piracy in Nigerian territorial water, which were making them run at a loss.
Efforts to get comments from the Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Mrs. Vicky Hastrrup, was futile as calls to her phones were not answered.