The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has expressed satisfaction at the level of compliance with the post-acquisition plan by all the concessionaires at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
The commendation came from the Bureau’s Director, Post Privatisation Department, Yusuf Adamu, after a monitoring of activities of the terminal operators at the Wharf at the weekend.
Adamu described the investments and revenue contribution by the concessionaires to government as massive in the last 13 years.
“Before the concession, this place was like a market, with uncontrolled movements of people leading to rampant thievery. Some of the quay areas you see now were taken up as residential places until after the concession.
“You can see the level of investments and expansion made by the concessionaires which is in millions of dollars, and these facilities will eventually revert to government at the end of the agreed period. This is outside their regular throughput and annual lease fees, which they have never defaulted since takeover in 2006, which is in millions of dollars. Meanwhile, before concession, these agencies that are now contributing revenue and employment generation were some of the drain pipes of the national treasury,” Adamu further declared.
Terminal operators had earlier briefed the BPE team on their investments in line with the Post-Acquisition Plan, and equally took them round for verification and clarification of issues.
The operators visited at the Apapa included APM Terminals; ENL Consortium; Greenview Development Nigeria Limited and Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited.
Financial records presented by the concessionaires indicated they have all remained compliant in paying all the necessary throughput, annual lease fees, and other obligations to government, in addition to increased job opportunities and enhanced remuneration compared with the pre-concession era.
However, the story was not all savoury as the operators complained about how Government’s inconsistent policies, particularly the ban on import of certain goods like rice has affected the volumes of activities and by extension their revenues.
According to the Executive Director, Operations, ENL Terminal, Mark Walsh, the ban on rice import is counter-productive not only to the terminal operators but also to government, as rice still finds its way into the country outside the ports.
“You say rice import has been banned but if you go to the market, you still find imported rice there. How did it get in there? I think government should do a rethink of that policy for her own interest and the rest of us,” Walsh advised.
The Managing Director, Dangote’s Greenview, Akin Omole, and Operations Manager, ABTL Terminal, Simon B. Faponle, identified Apapa traffic gridlock as the greatest challenge facing terminal operators, and called on the government to expedite action on the road expansion.
Omole revealed that in efforts to mitigate the constraint, Greenview’s had contributed about N45 billion toward the reconstruction of Apapa Road.