NPA develops 25 years master plan
• Rivers Port celebrates centenary
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says it is packaging a 25-year master plan for port development in Nigeria.
The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, disclosed this in Lagos last Saturday while delivering his address at the centenary celebration of the Rivers Port, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Abdullahi said that Messrs CPCS Transcom, a world-class consulting Canadian firm, has been appointed as Consultant to the project, stating that it has since commenced work.
The firm was part of the consortium that midwifed Nigeria’s port concession programme by developing the legal framework for the concession contracts.
The NPA boss also said that the Federal Government’s port reform programme of 2006 has met with considerable success as ship traffic has doubled and better quality of service recorded at the ports.
“There has been reduced turnaround time for vessels, reduced cargo dwell time, safety and security of persons, ships and cargo and environmental protection,” Abdullahi said.
He said that a full-fledged Monitoring and Compliance Unit has been created by the NPA to ensure compliance with the terms of the Lease Agreement signed with terminal operators under the port concession deal.
He said: “Officers of the Authority have also received local and foreign training on monitoring port concessions in order to build capacity and gain exposure to global trends in compliance monitring. Major challenge affecting the port concession is the slow progress in the implementation of institutional reform component of the Port Reform Programme. The non-passage of the proposed Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority Bill has to a large extent constrained the ability of the Authority to ensure technical and economic regulation of the port industry in line with global standards. The Authority has however ensured full cooperation with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to ensure speedy passage of pending bills affecting the port industry.”
He said that the NPA is also involved in the development of deep seaports in Badagry and Lekki in Lagos; and Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT), Engr. Nebolisa Emordi, said that government was concerned about the absence of a commercial regulator at the port.
The Minister said that work has been concluded on the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill and other relevant bills which, according to him, will soon be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and subsequent transmission to the National Assembly.
The NTC when created, according to him, will serve as commercial regulator of the ports, while the NPA will retain its role as technical regulator.
Also speaking, Port Manager of the Rivers Port Complex, Chief (Mrs.) Carolyn Ufere, said that the centenary celebration was to highlight the contributions of the Rivers Port, which is the second oldest seaport in the country, to national development.
“Rivers Port has come of age. It is strategically positioned, which helps to enhance quick realisation of government core economic objectives and aspiration through enhancement of maritime trade and employment generation and reduction of distribution cost,” Ufere stated.
She said that, despite its 100 years of existence, the port still faces major challenges including the poor state of its access road.
She said: “The present state of Industry Road, which serves as the main access into the port, has been a source of concern to the port users. Vehicular movements along this port approach have been cumbersome, to say the least. The deplorable condition of the road causes traffic congestion at most times.”
She also said that epileptic power supply from the national grid, which has forced the port to depend on generators to carry out its operation; and the encroachment on NPA’s land under the port by some natives of the host communities, are part of the challenges confronting the second oldest port in Nigeria.
Several dignitaries, including the FMOT Director of Maritime Services, Alhaji Musa Nagogo; former Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Ms. Aina Egharevba; the first Port Manager of the Rivers Port, Mr. Funso Agoro; other former Port Managers of the port; and serving Port Managers of the NPA, among others, graced the centenary celebration.