The House of Representatives lamented that Nigeria is losing N600 billion monthly to the gridlock and traffic congestion at Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos State due to infrastructural decay of the facilities.
This is even as it called the attention of the government to the ports’ access roads, saying that they were in a sorry state.
To this end, the House urged the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and other relevant ministries and agencies of the federal government to as a matter of urgency commence repairs on the dilapidated infrastructures.
The resolution follows the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Mzondu Benjamin Bem and 5 others.
In his lead debate, Bem noted that the two ports were key to the Nigerian economy, urging the government not to allow them to collapse.
He recalled that the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports were concessioned to private operators under the Federal Government Port Reforms and modernization policy for efficiency and cost reduction through privatization by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in 2006.
According to him, the lease/concession agreements were executed in 2006 wherein terminal operations were transferred to private operators with specific obligations to develop, operate and market the concession in accordance with approved Business Development Plans (BDP).
He added that while the Federal Government through Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) retained obligations of providing port access roads, dredging, water front security, pilotage, access to utilities, repairs of Quay Wall and Apron area.
“The House is aware that Nigeria losses about N600bn monthly according to All African Publication of 21st December 2018, as a direct result of poor state of port access roads at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Port; Despite Plethora’s of intervention by the Government on the issue of traffic gridlock in Apapa and Tin can port, the unpalatable development has continued unabated with calamitous economic effect on the nation’s economy;
“Also Aware that all private terminal operators in the ports have met and exceeded covenanted obligations as regards investments in infrastructure, Plants, Equipment and payments of lease/throughput fees consistently over the years except for one or two affected by change in Monetary and Fiscal Policies of Government;
Recall that the provision of port access road, repairs of quay wall/apron area and other operational infrastructure are obligations of Federal Government of Nigeria through Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) under the respective Lease/Concession Agreements and failure to which has consequences on revenues of Federal Government;
“Further Aware that, on Friday 29th November, 2019, when the committee on privatization and commercialization on oversight visited some parts of Tin Can Island like the RORO Terminal container handler, the committee found some damaged parts of the transition slabs (cable duct) as a consequence of the sand erosion from underneath the Apron’s deck due to the collapse of the quay wall which is the responsibility of Federal Government of Nigeria through Nigerian ports Authority (NPA) to fix the affected parts.”
Bem further worried that the collapse of the quay wall (retaining wall) and the Apron Area of the terminal which has the length of 438 meters could lead to closure of the only terminal which receives vehicle cargos from across the world into Nigeria being closed and loss of huge revenue accruable to government and loss of jobs to many Nigerians.
“The House is further worried that the RORO Tincan Island terminal alone provides over 500 direct job opportunities to Nigerians and over 3000 indirect employment to auxillary business individuals and cooperate bodies around the Island Terminal.
“Cognisant that at the height of rising indices of unemployment in Nigeria, urgent measure must be taken by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Bureau of public enterprises (BPE), and other relevant Government agencies to fix the decaying infrastructure in and around the Apapa terminals;
“Disturbed that the poor state of the quay wall/apron at Tin Can Island Port Complex constitute a major threat to the survival of the entire port; as it may collapse at any moment if urgent steps is not taken to arrest the ugly Trend.
“Convinced that Apapa and Tincan Island ports in Lagos are the gateway to Nigeria’s economy with huge accruable revenue and employs thousands of its citizens; the collapse of the quay wall/apron and subsequent closure of the port will render millions jobless and further cripple economics activities in and around the port in particular and Nigeria in general”, he said.
In adopting the motion, the House also directed the NPA to immediately repair the quay wall and apron at Tin Can Island port (RORO terminals) under the Concession Agreement to save the terminal.
It equally mandated its Committee on Privatization and Commercialization to immediately convene a stakeholder’s consultative meeting to find a lasting solution to the gridlock and congestion at the ports’ access road.