Port concessionaires bemoan effect of policy somersault on operations

 The Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) on Tuesday said that some of their operations in 2014 slowed down due to changes in some government policies.

The Spokesman of the association, Mr Bolaji Akinola, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said terminal operators faced several challenges as a result of the change in some policies which did not consider the concession agreement and their business projections.

``The issue of port operation last year; we got a lot of surprises and you know naturally, businesses don’t like uncertainties.

``Businesses are more comfortable when there is certainty, stability within the system, especially in terms of government policies.

``Terminal operations faced challenging time last year, and don’t forget we have a concession agreement that was signed and predicated on certain assumptions; and projections and forecasts.

``So, when policies now come in half way into concession agreement, it upsets a lot of things and that is what we saw happen all of last year,” Akinola said.

Akinola said the changes in policy truncated operations of some terminals that were handling bulk cargo like rice and fish.

He said the Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) operations were also affected by the new automotive policy, which he said was significantly aimed at reducing the volume of vehicles imported into Nigeria.

Akinola, however, said that terminal operators had strong faith and confidence in the Nigerian economy despite the setbacks, ``and believe that policies will get more stable with time and the nation’s economy will continue to grow’’.