Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have met and agreed on the framework they will adopt to evaluate the existing port concession agreements which the federal government has with private operators.
A statement from the Head of Communications of BPE, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, thursday in Abuja, disclosed that the Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, met with the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, in his office where this was part of their discussions.
The statement explained that at the meeting, Okoh pledged to work with the NPA to sustain its development of Nigeriaâ€™s maritime industry.
He said this had become necessary to enhance efficiency and service delivery at Nigerian ports.
According to the statement, Okoh and Usman reviewed the maritime industry and agreed on the framework for evaluation of the ports concession agreements. They also discussed the infrastructural challenges at the ports and the ways to address them.
Recently, Usman disclosed that the NPA could review the existing concession agreements it has with concessionaires at the various ports of the country, to reflect current economic situations.
Okoh, however, stated that the Bureau would constantly liaise with the NPA to ensure that the concessionaires keep to the terms of the covenants they signed with the government and also to ensure that the agreements that are due for review are done expeditiously.
The statement stated that both executives expressed optimism that the reform bills, especially the Ports and Harbour Bill and National Transport Commission Bill which are currently receiving attention at the National Assembly, would optimise operations at the ports.
According, to it, the two bills when enacted would strengthen the technical and economic regulatory framework in the maritime industry.
It also quoted Usman to have explained in her remarks that synergy between both agencies would ensure an all-encompassing review process of the ports concession agreements.
While stressing the strategic position of the maritime sector in the nationâ€™s economy and the enormous prospects it presents for economic growth, the NPA boss maintained that inter-agency collaboration was one sure way to harness the potential.
The statement also noted that the House of Representatives last month passed the National Transport Commission Bill, which it said has as its main objective: â€œto provide efficient economic regulatory framework for the transport sector, mechanism for monitoring compliance of government agencies, transport service providers and users in the regulated transport industry with relevant legislation and to advise government on matters relating to economic regulation of the regulated transport industry.â€