The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) says there is need to urgently resolve disputes relating to concession agreements at Nigerian ports, toward making them more effective and efficient.
The Acting Director General of the ICRC, Mr Chidi Izuwah, made the assertion on Wednesday during a monitoring visit to the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos which is being operated by Josepdam Ports Services (JPS) Limited.
Izuwah said the concession agreement entered between JPS and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in 2006 had not yielded the desired results due to some challenges.
He said the JPS had listed the challenges to include third party (Honeywell Group) plant and equipment occupying more than 25 per cent of the terminal land mass and litigation filed against the company by the third party.
According to him, they also include problem 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 government agencies around the port area.
Izuwah said that the NPA had also raised concerns against JPS, including delay/partial payment of lease fees which were agreed in the concession agreements and not fully implementing the port development plans.
“It is on this premise that the ICRC decided to embark on this monitoring exercise 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-led 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 all disagreements relating to concession exercises at the ports must therefore be resolved in order to make Nigerian ports the hub for international shipping trade in the West and Central African sub-region.
In his speech, Mr Simon Travers, Managing Director, JBS, urged the commission to assist in finding an amicable settlement on the issue of the third party presence at the terminal which was hindering its operations.
He recommended that the NPA should review and extend the lease agreement for years lost due to the third party interference and also appealed to the government to repair the access road to the port.