The Nigerian Ports Authority has said the port at Tin Can Island is collapsing, saying more attention should be given to rehabilitating the port’s quay walls.
Speaking over the weekend, NPA chief executive Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko said the agency had carried out a holistic review of the decaying parts of the ports.
He added that the agency had entered into discussions with some lending agencies, stressing that the agency had no intention of borrowing.
Bello-Koko said the introduction of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act meant that the renewal of the concession agreement for terminal operators was no longer done as before.
“The harbor at Tin-Can Island is practically collapsing. We need to focus our budget on rehabilitating these quay walls at Tin-Can Port. We carried out a holistic review of the decaying infrastructure of our ports and decided that it was very important to rehabilitate the ports of Tin-Can and Apapa.
“What we’ve done is start talking to lending agencies, even though we don’t intend to lend. We ask how much money they are going to invest in port terminals.
He said his agency was asking those whose leases had expired how much they would invest in the ports.
The NPA boss also said that before the agency renews the concession agreement of some terminal operators, there must be an agreement on port development.
“For us to renew these expired concession agreements, around five of them, we need a strong commitment from the relevant terminal operators on the development of these port terminals. If the terminal operators cannot give us such a commitment, then either we give the terminals to someone else or we will borrow money to rehabilitate these ports.
He said, however, that the affected terminals would not want the agency to rehabilitate the ports.
“However, if we are going to borrow money to rehabilitate these ports, then what the terminal operators are paying will have to change. Prices will have to increase. If we don’t, these terminal operators will continue to run these places and the ports will continue to collapse. Due to their financial interest, these terminal operators do not want us to rebuild the affected port terminals as this would mean preventing them from operating.
“We have had interest from the World Bank, among others. Amazingly, it was the World Bank that actually gave money to the NPA to build part of Apapa Port so many years ago. The World Bank has come back to tell us that if we need financing, they will give it to us.
He also revealed that five terminal operators were being monitored to ensure they were doing the right thing about their commitment and obligations as agreed under the port concession agreement.
Bello-Koko also revealed that the terminal operators concerned had obtained a temporary six-month renewal with conditions to be met before seeing their concession agreement definitively renewed.
“At the time of expiration of any concession agreement, the legal agreement at the time states that terminal operators can apply for renewal and we will renew it. It was after the concession agreement that the ICRC law came into force. ICRC law requires that there be a new owner, a new offer and so on.
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