The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has said that Nigerian ports were now witnessing more efficiency following the reforms of the Federal Government.
The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, made this known during an inspection tour of facilities of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) in Rivers state.
Izuwah said that the policy of Federal Government on port reform was achieving its targets which include: increased efficiency and reducing cost of services to port users.
He said that there was now more competition in the provision of services adding that Nigerian port was fast becoming the hub for international shipping trade in the west and Central African sub-region.
The ICRC boss explained that the aim of the inspection was to ensure that the mandate of ICRC with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) was in compliance and to ensure competent execution of all PPP contracts.
He said this was in line with the terms and conditions of such contracts.
“We are here to know if the regulatory policies put in place by Federal Government is working or not, we want to know issues or challenges leading to the “not work’’, he said.
The Acting DG however called on the need for more and better security, stressing that without security in the waterways and land, the set goals on those policies would not be achieved.
“Investors can only go to cities or countries where their business will thrive, not where they are afraid of their lives and properties.
Izuwah called on Nigerians to join in the campaign for peace and security in all communities and states to make the economy grow.
He commended the efforts of NPA Port Harcourt in taking positive steps towards ensuring that the obligations as specified in the contract were met.
Izuwah also applauded the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari for putting policies in place to ensure investors go about their businesses without unnecessary hitches.
In his speech, the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Abubakar Umar, said that there had been an improvement in the services and activities in the Port.
Umar stated that the port had recorded more success since the year 2016 till date.
“The port has been busy with cargos coming in since 2016 than we used to have. More containers and cargo now come in through this port.
He also harped on the need for more security on the waterways.
“Yes there has been an improvement in our activities in the port and it’s a great improvement but not to say that there have not been challenges.
“We have so many challenges facing us on daily bases which have to do with the security of our staff, hijacking of vessels, dredging of the port, piracy and many more,’’ he said.
Umar however said that efforts had been put in place to tackle most of the challenges adding that the port had blocked areas of leakages, recorded increased revenue and recovered some debts.