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Licensed Customs Agent faults port concession model

Mr Uchu Block, the Vice
President of the Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, has
faulted the port concession model presently being operated.
In an interview in Lagos, Block  said that it was wrong for the ports to have been left totally in the
control of the concessionaires.
He said the model would make it difficult for
Nigeria to have people take over from the present terminal operators after the
agreed 25-year agreed period of concession.

“Since the concession of the ports in 2006 the NPA
just handed over to the private people to run the port.
“These concessionaires are to develop the ports within
the time frame that they have been given to operate and then hand over to
Nigerians.
“But they just operate without anybody checking them,
nobody has been monitoring them. How many Nigerians are working there, and who
will take over after these 25 years?
“So their mind set is that after 25 years, if Nigeria
does not have anybody to handover to, they will continue. It is like another
kind of colonisation,” Block said.
He expressed disappointment that facilities in around
the port environment were not in good conditions in spite of the port
development levy the NPA collects.
“NPA collects 7 per cent port levy but most of the
facilities in the port environment are not in good condition.
“There are portholes inside the port, let alone the
ones outside the Tin-can Island port gate. All these make the port environment
very unfriendly.
“They promise to build ports in other places, but you
cannot be in Lagos and be using port at Bauchi, just as those in Onitsha use
the Lagos ports for lower cost and ease.
The NPA however argued that it still maintained some
infrastructure in the ports, leaving others to the terminal operators as
accepted in the concession agreement.
Mr Musa Iliya, an Assistant General Manager, Public
Affairs, said that that they still maintained the common-user facilities and
with great interest to ensure that the ports work well.
“It is known that it is the NPA that built the park and
the fenders in the port.
 “The NPA also
undertakes the other developmental operations such as dredging the port channels.
“It also handles the removal of wrecks. It takes care
of all common-user facilities and provides security at specific areas of the
port,” Iliya said.

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