BY JOHN IWORI, 23 MARCH 2012
The Federal Government has been called upon to review the concession of the nation’s seaports and adopt the Ghana model on port privatisation. It was argued that this was the only way the federal government could address the challenges facing the management of the nation’s seaports since they were handed over to concessionaires in the wake of the port reforms.
The port concession, which was supervised by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) seven years ago, divested the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) from cargo handling.
Over 10,000 workers lost their jobs as a result of the exercise which was seen in some quarters as the best thing that would happen to Nigerian ports.National President of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, stated this in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.
He maintained that it was imperative for the FG to consider adopting the Ghana model of privatisation ahead of the enactment of the legal framework by the National Assembly. He noted that the Ghana model has not only built confidence and created wealth but has also generated employment for Ghanaians.
Amiwero, who was draft committee chairman of the task force for the review of port charges, levies in 2001 and head of delegation to Ghana in 2001, stressed the need to build confidence, grow wealth and create employment in the country’s present port system through proper organisation of port operation and legislative framework.
“The Nigeria port programme should be looked into especially now that a proper legal framework is yet to be put in place, so as to accommodate the areas of deficiency as it affects confidence building, wealth creation and employment generation in line with Section 7 (c) of No. 38 of NPA Act 1999,” he stated.
He noted that the Nigeria Port Act 38 of 1999 has a similar provision of port modernisation concept at can accommodate the confidence-building mechanism, creation of wealth and generation of employment like that of Ghana.
Amiwero stressed the need for a proper mechanism to be in place for effective transfer after expiration of the various concession contracts so as not to create vacuum, as presently exists where NPA is no longer involved in port operation. He pointed out that the anomaly has grave implications.
According to him, a recent visit to Ghana was motivated by patriotism so as to compare note with the port concession and other port related matters in Nigeria and Ghana.
The management of Ghana Port Authority (GPHA), he said, is still involved in 25 per cent port operations. He explained that these include multipurpose approach, bulk, bags, containers, RORO, liquid bulk and dried bulk.
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