Nigerian Ports Wrongly Privatised, Without Economic Regulator, Amiwero Writes Tinubu

... Accuses Terminal Operators, Shipping Companies of Manipulating Port System

Lucky Amiwero, a prominent Lagos based licensed customs agent and former member of the Presidential Committee on Reform of Nigeria Customs Service has described the country’s port privatisation system as poorly executed with attendant failure to yield the expected economic development benefits for Nigeria.

In a letter to President Bola Tinubu, Amiwero said the expected gains from the lease agreement with the terminal operators which include reduction in cost of cargo clearance, improve efficiency of operation and management of the port and facilitate development of the nation’s transport infrastructures have not been achieved

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Amiwero who is President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licenced Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) accused the terminal operators and shipping companies of manipulating the port system to the detriment of the nation’s economy, told the President that most of the gains the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) assured before the port concession have not been achieved after 19 years of their operations

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According to him,”the(BPE) advertised for the concession of the Port in 2003, four critical issues was conversed by the Bureau to justify the need for the concession of the Port, which is highlighted as follows:
To achieve reduction in cost of cargo clearance; To improve efficiency of operation and management of the Port; To facilitate further development of nations Transport Infrastructure; To eliminate congestion and facilitate the emergence of Nigeria as a Hub for West African Sub-region

“After nineteen (19) years in to the lease agreement Tagged concession, there is the need to ascertain, if the objective of the Port Privatization, deceitfully Tag concession has been realized, in line with objective of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) , putting in mind the provision of Section 7(c ) of the Port Act 38 of 1999.

“The provision of Section 7-© of the Port Act clearly states:Ensure the efficient management of port Operation, Optimal allocation and use of resources, diversification of sources of revenue and guaranteeing returns on its investment in order to contribute effectively to the well-being to Nigeria Society
Copy of Section 7-©of the NPA Act 38 of 1999 is attached and marked appendix 2

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“Your Excellency Sir, our Ports are associated with cumbersome, lengthy and unwholesome practice, which ranks our Ports as the most expensive within West African sub-region”

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He added that the process of privatizing Nigerian Ports without legal framework and economic Regulator, which has constituted hindrance, that resulted to: gridlock on our roads, no holding bays, No trailer parks, no Government warehouses in the Ports, No regulator to check the private monopoly of the Terminal Operators, these components where excluded from the Port privatization process

On the absence of critical support infrastructures,Amiwero told President Tinubu that there are no government warehouse to place government cargoes , No trailer Parks , no Economic Regulator and no holding bay. He blamed the port operators for duplication of charges and imposing charges not tied to service in the country’s port system.

He urged President Tinubu to constitute committee of experts to review the shortfalls in the Port system for government to achieve a reduction in the cost of doing business and streamline our port processes to attract Nigerian destined cargoes back from neighboring ports.

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