By Uche Usim
As Nigerians look forward to the expiration of concession agreements with terminal operation, the Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, has said a performance audit of their operations is underway to determine whether the agreement will be reviewed or not.
Speaking at a meeting with concessionaires in Lagos yesterday, Amaechi expressed dissatisfaction with the revenue generated from the maritime sector, stressing that the industry can generation more funds if stakeholders agree to harness its potentials.
“I’m doing a memo to Mr. President for his approval for us to do a performance audit on the terminal operators. We know two or three concessions have expired and also know there are issues to be addressed. The question also is that why are our seaports still almost in the same shape in 10 years since they were concessioned in 2006? So, we’ll do comparative analysis of growth or development between our ports and neighbouring ports. We’ll assess the report of the performance audit and if the report suggests a review of the concession agreement, we’ll call them together and work out ways to review it.
We can’t do the review without them because whatever actions we will take must be within the rule of law.
“But the fact remains that we’re not the making the amount of money we should make. We should earn much more than that. Our ports should be more modernised and expanded far beyond what we have now. I’m not impressed at the level of operations in our seaports,” the Minister stated.
Amaechi also warned all owners and operators of private jetties to work within government rules or their operational licenses will be revoked.
“All private jetties must obey the law of the land. This idea of seeking selfish gains must stop. The government needs money and we must all work to improve revenue and efficiency. Again, we’ll set up a committee in charge of enforcement and if you break the rules, we’ll cancel the approval that sets it up. Such actions are within our purview,” he said.
On the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Minister vows to reorganise the parastatal for greater efficiency.
“NIMASA needs reorganisation and I will effect that myself. It must be made to be more efficient,” he stated.