The Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to dredge the Port Harcourt Port. The President of PHCCIMA, Mr Billy Gillis-Harry, made the call in Port Harcourt when he led officials of the chamber on a facility tour of the port. He said the measure would be in fulfilment of governmentâ€™s promise to dredge the port before concessioning it.
â€œDredging of the port channel is the responsibility of the government under the port concession agreement, including rehabilitating the portâ€™s internal roads and other common-user facilities and infrastructure,â€ he said. Gillis-Harry said the port, currently managed by Port and Terminal Operations Limited (PTOL), under a concession agreement with the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, was crucial to the economic development of the area.
He expressed concern at what he described as huge injection of funds into the rehabilitation of the port by PTOL, without complementary efforts by the authorities. The basic responsibility of PHCCIMA is to ensure that its members that contribute to the tax revenue of Rivers State and Nigeria are given opportunity to develop their businesses in an atmosphere that encourages consistent economic growth. â€˜To say the fact, what is taking place at the port is far from our expectation in what an ideal business environment should be.
PHCCIMA is the engine room of the economy in Rivers, and as far as government revenue generation is concerned, the private sector plays a very crucial role. NPA must step up the dredging to give opportunities for larger vessels at the port,â€ he said. The Managing Director of PTOL, Mrs Lizzie Ovbude, who took the team round the facilities, said the major challenge facing the firm was the dredging of the port.