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NPA Proposes Sanctions For Operators, Regulators In Revised Concession Agreement

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Barring any last minute change of mind, the federal government will launch the revised port concession agreement between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and private terminal operators in the country in the next three months.

LEADERSHIP recalls that the ports concession agreements were signed by the federal government and private terminal operators in 2006. But, the revised concession agreement will help re-assess the values of leased assets as well as factors that inhibit the realisation of the objectives of the concession such as poor dredging, dilapidated road infrastructure around the ports, inconsistent government policies and lack of regulatory framework.

Managing director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, speaking yesterday at the ongoing International Associations of Ports and Harbour (IAPH) tagged, “African Ports and Interland Connectivity” in Abuja, said the reviewed port concessioned agreement between the NPA and terminal operators would introduce sanctions to any party that  failed to carry out its responsibilities as stipulated in the agreement.

She also said the NPA is seriously working with the World Bank, terminal operators and other stakeholders to ensure that the agreement comes into effect as a perfect document. According to Bala-Usman, the review will be more definite on the issues of sanctions for both operators and regulator in case of default; redefine the Guarantee Minimum Tonnage; and address other issues that led to massive smuggling of vehicles and rice into the country.

Besides, she said the plan is also to attract private investors to Nigerian ports, assuring of government’s determination to continue to provide necessary infrastructure at the ports.

She said: “We are currently reviewing the concession agreement, we are working with the World Bank as a technical partner. What we have discovered is that there is no clarity on sanctions for anyone of the partners that violate the rules. No clarity as to what form of penalty. These are part of the things we are looking at and we have gone far in the process.”

Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Bala-Usman said: “Yes, it will be ready in the next three months. We are talking with the terminal operators. We have an inter-agency which has all the agencies of government that are part of the concessioning process (office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Public Enterprise(BPE), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Federal Ministry of Transportation, NPA and we also have technical support from the World Bank.

“You should expect supplemental agreement that will be signed with the concessionaires.”

Meanwhile, trade between the China port of Guangzhou and Nigeria has increased to $2.65billion in 2017. Speaking at IAPH conference in Abuja yesterday, deputy director, Guangzhou Port Authority Yuan Yue said the volume of export and import between Africa and Guangzhou in 2017 was $12.86bn up by 11 per cent year on year.

Yue giving during a presentation, said the volume of trade between port of Guangzhou and Nigeria was $2.65bn which was an increase of 91 per cent year on year.  She stated further that the total container throughput between Guangzhou port and Africa in the same period was 443,700 TEUs of which the throughput between Guangzhou port and Nigeria exceeded 100,000 TEUs.

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