By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed worry over the delay in the conclusion of the review and renewal of agreements for the concession of the nation’s seaports.
Consequently, the House mandated its Committees on Ports and Harbor and, Privatization and Commercialization to interface with relevant government agencies and other parties to the concession agreement to investigate the cause of the delay.
The decision was reached during the consideration of a motion titled “Need to Investigate the Delay in Conclusion of the Review and Renewal of Agreements for the concession of Seaports” sponsored by Hon. Shehu Koko.
In his motion, Koko recalled that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria anchored the concession of Seaport Terminals between 2005 and 2006 for an initial period of 10 years, 15 years and 25 years across the NPA Port Complexes of Apapa, Tincan Island, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar, Koko and Warri, respectively.
He said “Some of the concessioned terminals with initial tenure of 10 and 15 years have expired while some will expire in May 2021 and needed renewal to avoid losses of hundreds of millions of dollars revenues accruable to the government and direct foreign investment by investors for further upgrade and rehabilitation of the Ports to achieve the modernization objectives of the government.
“The review and renewal process had commenced in 2016 with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Private Terminal Operators.
“The Concession Agreements that have expired are deemed to have been automatically renewed without the benefit of full renegotiation, provided that concessionaires served the lessor requisite notice of intent to renew in line with the provisions of the Agreement”.
Adopting the motion, the House gave the committee 4 weeks to carry out the exercise and report back to it for further legislative action.