The Senate Committee on Commercialization and Privatization has said that the Federal Government concessioned the Nigerian ports to ensure efficient service delivery and to bring about massive infrastructural development at the ports.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Olugbenga Obadara who stated this during the Committee’s oversight visit to Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos, noted that the aim was significantly achieved as services at the ports had not only improved but the ports were also contributing immensely to the revenue base of Nigeria.
Obadara said the concession fees paid by the concessionaires contribute to the nation’s annual budget as against the pre-concession period when the Federal Government allocated huge sums of money to maintain the ports.
“The federal government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) concessioned the ports to ensure development and efficiency which in turn would yield high revenue for government as it is applicable in other countries with ports”, he stated.
Earlier, the Port Facility Manager of Five Star Logistics Limited, concessionaire of Tin-can Island Port Roro Terminal, Mr. Fulwood Bizzaro had told the lawmakers that despite several challenges, the concessionaire had ensured strict adherence to the covenants it signed with the BPE and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Bizzaro said in line with the concessionaire’s development plan for the port terminal, it had developed 16-17 square metres of land for container and cargo stacking to handle the increased vehicle importation in the country.
Receiving the Senators, the General Manger of Josephdam Port Services Limited, Mr. Dimon Travers said the recent approval by the Federal Government for the company to extend its lease on Tin-Can Island Port Terminal ‘A’ by five years, had given them the opportunity to fully comply with the tenets of the concession agreement and to also develop the terminal.
He expressed optimism that at the expiration of the concession period, the terminal would be “fully developed and operated as a world-class terminal”.
Travers said cargo throughput was expected to increase significantly in the next few years, adding that in the first quarter of 2014, there was 29 percent increase in cargo throughput as against the 12.6 percent in 2013.
He revealed that his company had remitted all throughput and lease fees to the NPA up to the first quarter of 2014.
In his remarks,the Managing Director of NPA,Alhaji Habib Abubakar said the Authority was collaborating with the ports’ concessionaires to ensure that the ports were fully developed. He noted that a well developed port would bring about efficiency and guarantee high tonnage in import and export services which would lead to increased revenue for the Federal Government.
He disclosed that the NPA was in the process of drawing up a 25-year development plan for the ports.
The Committee members also paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola who expressed support for privatization as it guarantees efficiency and service delivery.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government in May 2006 concessioned Tin-Can Island Port Terminals for a period of 10 years. In March 2014, the National Council on Privatization (NCP) approved the extension of the concession period by five years due to some unexpected issues.