The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is threatening to revoke the concession agreements of five terminal operators over decaying infrastructure.
It said all players at the nation’s seaports had been placed under surveillance for action to their obligations captured in the port concession agreement.
The Federal Government, from 2005 to 2006, entered into a concession pact for several bulk, break-bulk and container terminals, partly on a competitive basis (13 terminals) and partly through negotiation (12 terminals).
Addressing reporters at the weekend in Lagos, NPA’s Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the affected terminal operators had been granted six-month grace to fulfil all conditions for renewal.
He noted that the introduction of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act meant that the renewal of concession agreements for terminal operators was no longer untidily done.
The NPA boss said: “At Tin-Can Island Port, we all know what is happening there. The port is practically collapsing. We need to focus our budget on the rehabilitation of those quay walls at the Tin-Can Port. We have taken a holistic review of decaying infrastructure at our ports, and have decided that it is very important that we rehabilitate Tin Can and Apapa ports.
“What we have done is to start talking to lending agencies, even though we don’t intend to lend. We are asking the terminal operators that have operated these ports for about 10 to 15 years how much money are they going to invest in them? We are asking some of them that their leases have expired, how much will they be investing in the ports?”
“For us to renew these concession agreements that have expired, about five of them, we need to have a categorical commitment from the affected terminal operators on the development of these port terminals. If the terminal operators cannot give us such commitment, then we either give the terminals to someone else or go and borrow money to rehabilitate them,” he added.
Bello-Koko stated that because of the terminal operators’ financial interest, they do not want NPA to re-construct the affected port terminal.
“We have had interest from the World Bank, IFC, Afri-Exim Bank and others. Surprisingly, it was the World Bank that actually gave money to the NPA to construct part of Apapa Port so many years ago.
The World Bank has come again to tell us that if we need funding, they will give it to us,” he added.