Reps probe delay of review, renewal of seaport concession agreements

The House of Representatives is probing the delay in the conclusion of the review and renewal of the agreements for concession of seaports.

To this end, the House mandated its committees on Ports and Harbour as well as Privatisation and Commercialisation to interface with parties to the concession agreement. The committees are to report within four weeks.

This followed a motion on the “Need to investigate the delay in conclusion of the review and renewal of agreements for concession of seaports” by Shehu Koko.

The House noted that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) anchored the concession of seaport terminals between 2005 and 2006 for an initial 10, 15 and 25 years across the NPA Port Complexes of Apapa, Tincan Island, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar, Koko and Warri.

The House said it was aware that some of the concessioned terminals with initial tenure of 10 and 15 years have expired while others would expire next month and needed renewal to avoid losses of hundreds of millions of dollars revenues accruable to the government.

“The House is also aware that the review and renewal process had commenced in 2016 with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Private Terminal Operators.

“Concerned that the concession agreements that have expired are deemed to have been automatically renewed without the benefit of full renegotiation, provided that concessionaires served the lessor requisite notice of intent to renew in line with the provisions of the agreements,” the lawmakers said.

In a related development, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed for second reading a bill to establish the Nigerian maritime security trust fund.

Sponsored by Yusuf Gagdi who represents the Panshi/Kanam federal constituency of Plateau State, the bill is titled “The Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund and other matters related thereto (2020)”.

Noting the importance of the bill, all contributors to the debate lend their voices to the establishment of the fund and urge the House to pass the bill into law without any delay. The bill was first introduced on March 25, 2021.

Leading the debate on the general principle of the bill, Gagdi, who also chairs the House Committee on Navy, said the trust when established will provide special funds for training and retraining of naval personnel for optimum productivity, as well as funding for equipment and machinery that will aid the seamless protection of our waterways by the Nigerian Navy. He said it will also guarantee a robust economic development of the country.

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