N/A says agreement is skewed against Nigeria

‘We have surpassed set investment targets’ – STOAN

By Godwin Oritse

AS the controversy over the renewal of the Port concession agreements continue to rage, Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways Hon. Patrick   Asadu, has warned against the renewal of the Port concession agreement without a review saying that “The agreement as it stands is skewed against the economic interest of Nigeria”.  

Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report on the sideline of the just concluded World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos, Asadu said that Nigeria as a country is bleeding through ports by the activities of the private port operators.

He explained that the agreement that was signed about 17 years ago was done in the personal interest of people that signed the agreement.

The lawmaker also said that he was going to see the new Minister of Transportation, Engr Muazu Sambo, to warn him against encouraging the renewal of the concession agreement without changing the content of the agreement.

He expressed surprise that the government was making plans to renew such unhealthy agreement.

He stated: “What I saw as Chairman of the Committee then was very disheartening because the concession agreement is skewed against the economic interest of Nigeria. Whoever signed that agreement did so for his or her personal interest.

“The country is bleeding through the Nigerian Ports and the operators have become billionaires, I will engage the Minister on the matter to point out certain aspect of  the agreement to you.”

Similarly, Jean Anishere-Chiazo, a maritime expert called for a review of the agreement to create a more robust document in the interest of all parties involved.

Anishere-Chiazo also said after almost 20 years of operating by the private investors, there is need to revisit the earlier agreement before a new one can signed.

Similarly, the President of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLA, Mr. Lucky Amiwero told Vanguard Maritime Reports that the lease agreement the government went into with terminal operators is against the law that establishes the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, adding that the law does not allow for a lease agreement that is more than five years.

Amiwero also said that the long leases given to the terminal operators is illegal and that the agreement was not in the interest of the country.  

‘We have surpassed set investment  targets’ – STOAN

Meanwhile the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, has said that operators of the various terminals across the country has surpassed agreed targets as contained in the concession agreement and ready to have their concession renewed.

Speaking to Journalists last weekend, Chairman of STOAN, Dr. Vicky Hastrrup, said that the terminal operators have surpass the expectation of government  in terms of performance  and investment. 

Hastrrup also said that concessionaires have passed all audit exercise carried out by the authorities.

She stated: “We thank the Minister of Transportation who has seen the need to renew these expired leases quickly because these concession expired like over a year ago. If concessions are not renewed as at when due, it does not show confidence to the international  community. The new minister knows this and that is why he directed the Nigerian Ports Authority to conclude the renewal process within 45 days.

“All of the expired leases have met the concession agreement and surpassed   what we are suppose to do.  

“There is a way our performance is being measured and this has been done over the years. There is what we call the continuous assessment, there is the quarterly assessment, they have half year assessment, the yearly assessment. As a matter of fact, we have all equally invested more than what we were supposed to do.

“A lot of clauses, a lot of our commitments, things that were supposed to be in the concession agreement, because it showed we meant business, we want to turn the port industry around, we need to perform   to world class standard and that we have all done and the Nigerian Ports Authority can confirm that. In all of their report, they have mentioned, I do not know of any terminal that has not surpassed their expectation as enshrined in the concession agreement.

“Because of that, to me, the renewal should not have been delayed”.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.