Concession review: NPA recommends penalties for operators, regulators

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Barring any last minute change of mind, the Federal Government will launch the reviewed port concession agreement between the Nigerian Ports Authority and private terminal operators in the country in the next three months.

The ports concession agreements were signed by the government and private terminal operators in 2006.

But the reviewed concession agreement will help reassess the values of leased assets as well as factors that inhibit the realisation of the objectives of the concession such as poor dredging, dilapidated road infrastructure around the ports, inconsistent government policies and lack of regulatory framework.

Speaking on Tuesday at the maiden edition of the International Associations of Ports and Harbours conference tagged: ‘African Ports and Hinterland Connectivity’, the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the reviewed port concession agreement between the agency and the terminal operators would introduce sanctions to any party who failed to carry out its responsibilities as stipulated in the agreement.

She stated that the NPA was seriously working with the World Bank, terminal operators and other stakeholders to ensure that the agreement comes into effect as a perfect document.

According to Bala-Usman, the review will be more definite on the issues of sanctions for both operators and regulator in case of default; redefine the guaranteed minimum tonnage; and address other issues that led to massive smuggling of vehicles and rice into the country.

Besides, she said the plan was to attract private investors to Nigerian ports, assuring of government’s determination to continue to provide necessary infrastructure at the ports.

She stated, “We are currently reviewing the concession agreement; we are working with the World Bank as a technical partner. What we have discovered is that there is no clarity on sanctions for anyone of the partners that violate the rules.

“No clarity as to what form of penalty. These are part of the things we are looking at and we have gone far in the process.”

Bala-Usman added, “Yes, it will be ready in the next three months. We are talking with the terminal operators. We have an inter-agency body, which has all the agencies of government that are part of the concession process, including the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Federal Ministry of Transportation and the NPA, and we have technical support from the World Bank.

“You should expect supplementary agreement that will be signed with the concessionaires.”

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