Renewed port concession pacts ready soon, minister pledges
By JOHNMARK UKOKO
Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, has assured that the details of the renewal of port concession agreements with some terminal operators are now ready and will be perfected within the next 45 days.
He gave the assurance during a visit to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Lagos at the weekend where Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, suggested that the five terminal operators will be given six months to renew their concession when their agreements expire soon to which the minister refused.
While addressing journalists during his visit to the Tin Can port, the minister said: “I do not have six months. I will ensure that the concessions are renewed in the next 45 days” and assured that he would prioritise the reconstruction of the dilapidated quay aprons of the Tin Can Port.
According to him, the quay aprons of the port are getting destroyed due to lack of maintenance, adding: “I have advised the management of NPA, in the past, there is what we call programmed preventive maintenance, this is why at every port, we have an engineering outfit headed by the Chief Port Engineer.
Part of his responsibility is to draw out preventive maintenance programmes for the ports under his jurisdiction every year, he takes it to the headquarters for consideration and approval and that forms part of the forthcoming budget.
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“If you carry out preventive maintenance, you would avoid a lot of the deterioration that is taking place. This is the truth, the sooner we accept it, the better.
“As you would recall, I was posted to the Federal Ministry of Transportation on June 6, 2022. This is actually my second official assignment outside Abuja. I was in Kano for the Dala Inland Dry port to declare it as a port of origin and destination.
“Today I am in Lagos, the maritime headquarters of Nigeria. The purpose of my coming to Lagos is to look at the ports and the related infrastructures which are supposed to support maritime activities. As you all, the ports are the gateway to the nation’s economy.
“If we get our acts right, the maritime industry can replace the revenue from the oil industry, this is why we have come to see how we can support the port authorities in order to improve on their deteriorating structures,” he said.
Speaking earlier at the Port and cargo terminal by SIFAX Group, Sambo said the NPA had approached him with a devastating problem that the Tican Port is facing.
“I personally attach great importance to the maritime industry, there are billions of dollars that can be earned from the maritime industry, if we get our acts right,” Sambo stressed.