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.