Chairman of the Committee, Senator Zainab Kure
Senate Committee on Marine Transport has given Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) a pat on the back for the level work done on the modernization of ports’ infrastructure.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Zainab Kure, stated this in an interview with journalists shortly after a recent two-day inspection of projects undertaken by the authority in the last one year.
According to Kure, between last year and now when the committee saw the poor state of the infrastructure and appropriates funds for them, “the level work on them is encouraging”.
She said the performance of the ports authority encourages the lawmakers to ensure that the needed funds are appropriated by the National Assembly (NASS) for the modernisation of port infrastructure. Kure who was the erstwhile First Lady of Niger State however stated that his committee will visit the Eastern ports to be sure that the level compliance in project execution show by the NPA in Western ports is replicated there.
She defended the projects being executed by NPA, especially the rehabilitation of the quay apron and quay walls of Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Apapa, Lagos.
According to him, the wear and tear has set in and there is the need rehabilitate to bring the port to modern standards, “because we are not an island, and that is part of our agreement with the concessionaires”.
She explained that her committee decided to see the level work on the ongoing projects to enable it prioritise in terms of allocation of funds to projects “because fund is scarce”.
The lawmaker called on NPA to continue to carry the National Assembly along in its scheme of things, especially on the issues earlier raised by some members of the committee on their first day of the inspection tour of the projects, particularly with regards to the contract sums and the operations of the companies NPA is partnership with expatriate firms.
She said if the jobs had passed through the Nigeria’s procurement law and the job awarded by the Federal Executive Council, NPA as an agency has nothing to do with them.
“All the projects the Senate Committee inspected were approved last year by the National Assembly and funds allocated for them in the 2012 Budget Act. Our visit was to see the level of work for further appropriation of funds”, she said.
The ongoing projects inspected by members of the committee as part of their oversight functions were the modernisation of NPA House, the corporate headquarters of the authority, the East and West Moles, Apapa port common user road and the Tin Can Island Ports quay apron and quay wall rehabilitation projects.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Marine Transport has said the committee was not happy with some anomalies arisen from the concession. According to her, there were reports available to the committee on high port charges which the concessionaires have unilaterally fixed without recourse to any authority.
She noted that if there were a regulator in place the excess of the concessionaires would have been curbed, saying that the port and harbour bill had scaled the first reading and would soon be presented for second reading, which she believes would provide a regulator that would serve as an arbiter for the industry.
Meanwhile, NPA has embarked on a programme aimed at distributing relief materials to the victims of flood disaster across the country.
The exercise is in response to the call made by President Goodluck Jonathan to all corporate bodies, individuals and governmental agencies to rise to the occasion and assist flood victims, so as to alleviate their sufferings.
Many parts of the country, particularly Rivers, Bayelsa, Anambra, Kogi, Benue, Edo, and Delta States were early this year ravaged by flood that led to the displacement of millions of across the country.
The aftermath of this flood is that a lot of farmland has been eroded and people’s homes have been submerged under water. Also, basic survival has been difficult for thousands of people and a large number of people are now homeless.
Following this, the management of NPA has set up a committee to effectively supervise the distribution of the relief materials to affected states.
To begin the relief material distribution exercise, the NPA team, led by the General Manager, Public Affairs, Chief Michael Kayode Ajayi, visited three states, namely Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti States. In all the states visited, items that were given out include blankets, mattresses, bags of rice and mosquito nets.
The Special Adviser to Ogun State Governor on Environment, Mrs. Abimbola Lanre-Balogun, was on hand to receive the relief materials on behalf of her state. She commended the laudable gesture of NPA and also promised that the materials will get to the end-users.
In Ondo State, the Senior Special Assistant to the deputy Governor, Mr. Rotimi Ekundayo, received the relief items. He extended the appreciation on behalf of the state to NPA.
He stated that the move by the authority was a proof of its commitments to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. He lauded NPA for being the first federal agency to come to the aid of Ondo State.
Special Adviser to the Deputy Governor, Ekiti State, Mrs. Kehinde Daramola, took delivery of the relief materials meant for her state. She was full of praise of NPA for its exemplary gesture.
The authority, in a statement issued in Lagos, said the relief materials will get to all the 36 states of the federation including Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
It said its decision to extend relief materials to all the states in the country, including Abuja, is to enable the states that were not seriously affected by the flood to adequately render assistance to victims who have been forced to seek refuge in those states.