NPA MD commends port concession exercise for boosting operational efficiency, increase revenue

The concessioning of the nation’s seaports has brought about more efficient service delivery as well as increase in revenue generation by the Federal Government, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said.

The Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, stated this on Monday while receiving members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) on a courtesy visit to her at the NPA Headquarters in Marina, Lagos.

The MD described the port concession exercise, which was done about 13 years ago, as a successful initiative that has benefited the maritime industry.

She assured on further improvement in terms of operational efficiency even as the ports have experienced increased vessels calls at the ports.

She said, “there could be improvement as it relates to deployment of operational efficiencies across our ports, but the history of where the ports were before the concession are clear. Nigerian port concessioning is a model that is being used globally to indicate a clear improvement in efficiencies.”

She added that: “even with our revenues as government agency quadrupled after the concession. Clearly, the concession is a success story.”

The NPA MD gave assurance that the current revenue of the concession agreement would address existing gaps in the port system, as the opportunity now exits to check areas where compliance had been short on the part of all the stakeholders.
She made clear that under the planned review, there would be sanctions against any of the parties found to be defaulting.

Her words: “we are looking at obligations by the respective parties, the Nigerian Ports Authority and the concessionaires. Some of the key takeaways from the review would be that there would be sanctioning on both sides, meaning sanctioning for non-compliance by the concessionaires and also by government.

“If government, for example, is required to maintain a particular depth of draught, and government does not do that, there will be a clear penalty that government has to take for not meeting its obligations.

“This is the new consideration we are looking at reflecting in the concession agreement. These were recommended to us by a consultant engaged by the World Bank to support us and we are working with the terminal operators on what needs to be done to conclude on this review.”

Speaking also, the NAGAFF President, Chief Increase Uche, who led the NAGAFF delegation, appealed to the management of the NPA to address all barriers that had affected port productivity.

He noted that that the freight forwarders had remained at the receiving end of the high cost of doing business in the port,  a situation that has continued to suppress the ease of trading.