NPA issues six months temporary license to five terminal operators
…Insists operators invest more in port infrastructure
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it has given a temporary operating license of six months to five terminal operators whose licenses and concession agreement expired last year.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of NPA, said the strategy was to secure a commitment from the affected terminal operators and their counterparts on the rehabilitation of the decaying infrastructure at their terminals before a longer extension can be given to them.
The five terminals include ENL Consortium in Apapa Port, Tin-Can Island Container Port (TICT), Josepdam Port Services Limited, Five Star Logistics Limited, and Port and Cargo Handling Services Limited in Tin-Can Island Port.
Bello-Koko said the authority will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that terminal operators at the Tin-Can Island and Apapa Ports take up major responsibilities in infrastructure rehabilitation.
“There are five concession agreements that have expired and each of them has different dates. At the point of expiration, the then legal agreement said they can apply and get a license renewal. Unfortunately, after the concession, the Infrastructure Commission Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act, which requires a new tender and bid for renewal, came up,” he said.
According to him, NPA requested the development plans of the operators before they can be given a longer license, which had to go to ICRC for approval.
“The essence of giving them a temporary extension of six months was to ensure the right things are done and that Nigeria gets value for money because if we ask people to bid, the new bidders will naturally pay NPA higher than what the current operators are paying,” he said.
While noting that the existing port facilities in Lagos and Eastern parts of the country are old and collapsing, Bello-Koko said the NPA has decided to focus its 2022 budget on the rehabilitation of those quay walls, quay aprons, and other decaying infrastructure at ports.
“NPA has started talking to lending agencies but we are also asking the terminal operators to put in money for this purpose. We need to have a categorical commitment from them on the development of the port and if we go borrowing to rehabilitate the collapsed infrastructure, the rate they pay to the government as the lease will go up,” he said.
Bello-Koko said NPA has received funding interest from World Bank, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and AFREXIM Bank, adding that NPA can go to the Federal Government to get approval to use part of its contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) to reconstruct the decaying port infrastructure.