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Transportation Minister, Amaechi seeks performance audit of Nigeria’s seaports

Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and Managing Director, NPA, Malam Habib Abdullahi
The
Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday said he was considering an
audit of the Nigeria’s seaports to determine their performance level.

Amaechi
stated this at an interactive session with port concessionaires at the Eko
Hotels and suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.

 He said an audit to know the level of infrastructure
development in the ports was necessary.

Establishing
that the concession agreement cannot be done without the concessionaires, the
minister, however said the concessionaires had not even implemented the
agreement.

Amaechi
said the performance of the ports should ideally translate into improved
revenue for government, which had not been the case.

“If
the ports have been doing well, has it translated into more revenue for
government? That is what we should be looking at.

“Certainty
in business is most important factor, so we should be certain of what comes to
the government.”

Responding,
the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Malam Habib
Abdullahi, said the concession had been a success, following results of their
operations.

Executive
Director, Marine and Operation of the NPA, Engr. David Omonibeke, however,
explained to the minister that operations of the NPA were affected by the CBN
foreign exchange restriction policy.

On
the issue of mid-stream discharge of cargoes and having ocean-going vessels
call straight to private jetties, the minister insisted he would follow the provisions
of the law.
While
some stakeholders argued that ocean-going vessels call to government ports before
going to private jetties, others were against that position.

Speaking,
Capt.  Emmanuel Iheanacho said “We will
be the laughingstock of the world if we do that. There is no legal provision
that vessels must call to government ports first.’



He said that idea was not necessary because facilities where such vessels called had the presence of all government concerned regulatory agencies including the customs operatives, who would carry out the checks and avoid revenue loss.

Amaechi
thereby demanded that parties brought their positions with respect to the issue
of vessel calls to private jetties by ocean-going vessels.

On
the issue of terminals that are licensed to receive liquid cargoes of oil and
gas, Maritime Lawyer, Mike Igbokwe (SAN) said a level playing field should be
created for all operators, in order to avoid a monopolistic situation that could
be detrimental to the economy.


Talking
on trade policy, operators of the Roll-On-Roll-Off operation, PTML, said they
only handled 10,000 vehicle imports in 2015, compared to 25,000 it used to
handle before then.


The
operator said importers now preferred to use ports of neighbouring countries
and bring the vehicles into Nigeria through the land borders, which they said
was cheaper to do.
Mr Olumide Omotosho,  a General Manager, hydrographic operations of the NPA, called attention to the need for updated data, charting
and marking of the waterways for safe navigation, as a way to check the
incessant boat mishaps lately.

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