Port concession: Senate threatens to revoke agreement with defaulters

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ABUJA, NOVEMBER 4, 2016 – The Senate Committee on Marine Transport on Friday warned that it would revoke the port concession agreement with any terminal operator that failed to fulfil the agreement.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Ahmed Yerima, gave the warning after a five-day oversight supervision by members of the committee at Western and Eastern ports.

Yerima said that some of the concessionaires had refused to perform their obligations, adding that the concession agreement should be reviewed every two years.

He urged the terminal operators to fulfil their financial obligations as highlighted in Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government in order to reap the dividends of port concession..

He said, “Since 2006, when the Federal Government approved the ports for concession, there has been no review of the agreement.

“We have the power to call for the cancellation of agreement with any concessionaire, who is not performing.

“If you look at the relationship between government and the concessionaires, some of the concessionaires have violated the agreement.

“We are going to look deep into it and ensure that the concessionaires operate within the ambit of the agreement.”

He said that the Senate had established a Sub-Committee on Investigation, which was new in the history of Senate to ensure proper operations of the concessionaires.

Yerima said that the Committee on Marine Transport had written letters to both NPA and terminal operators, requesting for information to enable the terminal operators to operate according to the concession agreement.

The committee chairman said efforts of members of the committee were meant to ensure that all revenue should be paid into government’s coffer for government to achieve its mandate.

He said that the committee would investigate deep into previous records of the terminal operators to ensure that nobody short-changed the government on revenue.

Yerima said that there was need to establish more deep seaports in the country.

He said that shallow waters would not allow bigger vessels into the Nigerian waters, adding that bigger vessels patronised Cotonou and other countries due to their deep seaports.

The lawmaker said that if both Badagry and Lekki deep seaports commence operations, the ports would develop Nigerian trade in the area of imports and exports.

Yerima said that the meeting held by President Muhammadu Buhari with some leaders in the Niger Delta would stop security challenges in the country.

He said once the security challenges become things of the past, abundant business opportunities would be available for Nigerians and recession would be erased from the system.

(NAN)

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