By Godfrey Bivbere & Godwin Oritse
Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, has constituted a committee to review the concession agreement between the Federal Government and private operators of the nation’s port terminals.
The constitution of the committee was as a result of calls from stakeholders over deficiencies in the concession agreement. Members of the committee include representatives the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, and the concessionaires with the NSC to serve as Chairman.
Disclosing this in Lagos on Wednesday at an interactive session with journalists, Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, said that the committee is to look at the shortcoming and mistakes of the agreement with a view of making corrections.
According to him, “The concession agreement has been there for how many years now, eight years and eight years is too long a time for the agreement to be binding without review.
“There must be changes even the operators are clamouring for review of the concession agreement; even the agreement has provision for review. The Federal Ministry of transport has set up a committee comprising the NPA, NSC and the concessionaires to review the agreement.
“What is most important to us is that the agreement right from the time it was signed made provision for the appointment of an economic regulator. Why this was not done maybe we were in a hurry to get things done.
“This is to take care of new development and changes after eight years of operations so that we can correct them, so that the obligations, the rights, the duties and every part of the agreement can be clearly stated,” he noted.
Similarly, Chairman of the Ports Constultation Committee, PCC, Kunle Folarin, said that the lapses in the agreement today may not be unconnected with the fact that the NSC was not involved in the process leading to concessioning of the ports at the initial stage.
Folarin explained that the is need to speed up the concession agreement review to ensure that all parties are in agreement and therefore benefit from the review.