The Minister of Transportation, Mua’zu Sambo, on Friday visited the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos, and ordered the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure it concludes the process of renewal expired port concession agreements within the next 45 days.
The visit was the Minister’s first since assumption of office in July.
He said he was visiting “the maritime headquarters of Nigeria” to inspect the ports and related infrastructures “which are supposed to support maritime activities”.
He was accompanied on the visit by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT), Magdalene Ajani, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh and the Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, among other senior government officials.
While speaking with journalists, the Minister assured that expired concession agreements at the ports would be renewed with 45 days.
He said, “We are not going to wait for six months to renew the agreement. I do not have six months. I would make sure that the concessions are renewed in the next 45 days.
The Minister also assured that he would accord priority attention to the reconstruction of the dilapidated quay apron at the Tin Can Island port.
“I have advised the management of NPA, in the past: there is what we call programmed preventive maintenance. This is why at every port, we have an engineering outfit headed by the Chief Port Engineer.
“Part of his responsibility is to draw out preventive maintenance programmes for the ports under his jurisdiction every year, take it to the headquarters for consideration and approval, and that forms part of the forthcoming budget.
“If you carry out preventive maintenance, you would avoid a lot of these deterioration that is taking place, this is the truth. The sooner we accept it, the better,” he said.
Sambo said if the country gets its acts right, the maritime industry “can replace the revenue from the oil industry”.
“I personally attach importance to the maritime industry. There are billions of dollars that can be earned from the maritime industry if we get our acts right,” he said.
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