THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured stakeholders of its readiness to complete deep seaport projects across the country.
Its Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, made the pledge on the sideline of the visit of the management of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), led by its Acting Director-General, Chidi Izuwah, to her office in Lagos.
She stressed that early completion of the project would not only facilitate efficiency, but also strengthen the Federal Government’s policy on Ease of Doing Business.
She stressed the need to fast-track the dredging of channels to accommodate bigger vessels to facilitate trade, generate more revenue and make the seaports competitive in the sub-region.
The NPA chief said the approval of the five-year renewal being sought by Lilypond Terminal was almost concluded.
Earlier, the Izuwah lauded the changes in the sub-sector since Ms Usman took over. He commended the improved synergy among relevant stakeholders, adding that it has provided a level-playing ground for all, boosted efficient service delivery and improved port operations, among others.
Izuwah said the concession agreement entered between Josepdam Ports Services (JPS) and the NPA had not yielded the desired results due to some challenges.
He said JPS listed the challenges to include third party (Honeywell Group) plant and equipment occupying more than 25 per cent of the terminal land mass, and the litigation filed against the company by the third party.
According to him, they also include lack of access road to the port, 100 per cent physical examination of containers, which has resulted to undue delays in cargo clearance and multiplicity of agencies around the port area.
Izuwah said the NPA also raised concerns against JPS, including delay/partial payment of lease fees, which are in the concession agreements.
“It is on this premise that the ICRC decided to embark on this monitoring to brainstorm with your management and the NPA on the way forward.
“As the regulator of the lease agreement, we cannot fold our hands and leave you to struggle it out alone.
“Under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, there is a will to address this issue and effort is being made to resolve it to create a win-win situation for all parties,” he said.
Izuwah maintained that disagreements on ports’concessions must be resolved to make ports the hub for international shipping trade in the West and Central African sub-region.
JPS Managing Director, Mr Simon Travers urged the commission to assist in finding a solution to the issue of the third party presence at the terminal, adding that it is hindering its operations.
He suggested that the NPA should review and extend the lease agreements for the years lost due to the third party interference and appealed to the government to repair the access road to the port.