A Maritime Stakeholder, Jide Adeoye, has called on the Federal Government to review port concession agreement, saying that the terminal operators have not been operating in line with the port concessioning agreements programme.
He made the call during an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Adeoye, who is a one-time Stevedoring Constructor to the Nigerian Ports Authority, Apapa Port, noted that the cardinal objective for concessioning the port in 2006 was to make port activities cost efficient and the port environment user-friendly, regretting, however, that the reverse is now the case. He added that the earlier the agreement was reviewed, the better for the maritime industry and the country.
He also urged the government to introduce an economic regulator to regulate the activities of the concessionaires – operating in the ports, suggesting that a neutral economic regulator would suffice because NPA might not be suited for regulating port charges of the concessionaires.
Adeoye, however, stressed that the statutory function of the Shippers Council was to always protect the interest of the Nigerian shippers, noting that stakeholders in the Maritime Industry would not fold its hands and watch terminal operators fleece the port users through frivolous and arbitrary charges.
He quoted the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, as saying in a meeting with stakeholders at Eko Hotels Lagos, recently, that NPA has not been playing its role fully since port concession took place. He therefore urged the new management of the authority to restructure the organisation and make it play its apex role in the Maritime industry.
According to him, NPA which has sold its terminals to private operators is still having Marine and operation department in place.
He said that the Minister, also has assured the Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) that he would do everything within his powers to ensure that their right to lift crude is extended to them by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in order to fulfil the objective of the cabotage programme.
On the other hand, the minister appealed to ISAN members to get ready vessels for lifting crude and make sure all rules and regulations of NNPC are well kept so that NNPC would not capitalise on their lapses to renege on fulfilling the agreement.