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Senate joins NPA to plan review of port concession deals

Members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Friday joined the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to warn that it would revoke the port concession agreement with any terminal operator that failed to fulfil the terms and agreement so signed.

It would be recalled that managing director of NPA, Hadiza Usman had during the World Maritime Day conference at Eko Hotel Wednesday given the hint that majority of port concessionaires are operating outside the provisions of their agreements and that their concession review is due.

Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Ahmed Yerima, gave the indication while addressing the press after oversight supervision by members of the committee at Western and Eastern ports.

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

But to escape the hammer of the ;lawmakers, the committee advised 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 observed that “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.”

According to him, the Senate had established a Sub-Committee on Investigation, which was new in the history of Senate to ensure proper operations of the concessionaires, revealing further 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 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.