By Eromosele Abiodun
Following the protracted delays by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to construct the Tincan Island port access road and ease the gridlock, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has made a request to the Federal Ministry of Transportation for consideration to have the NPA take over the construction of Tincan Island port access road.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman disclosed this yesterday while speaking at a stakeholders meeting held in Apapa, Lagos.
This is just as the NPA boss revealed that BUA Nigeria Limited had made commitment to reconstruct a stretch of the Tincan Island road and was awaiting directives from the ministry of works.
She also disclosed that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc had offered to conclude the shoreline protection for the trailer park in Tincan Island, “and we have made it clear to them that the completion will be done as a corporate social responsibility and it must be available to everybody. If they are unable to agree to our terms, we look for other alternatives.”
As part of the efforts to improve traffic on the port access roads, she ordered owners of empty containers to remove them in one week or have them removed by the authority and the owners services withdrawn.
Also, she warned terminal operators indebted to the authority to pay up as soon as possible or have their services withdrawn.
On the traffic situation in Apapa, she said, “We believe that the Federal Ministry of Works might not have the urgency that we have , if it is proving challenging for them to take action on some of the discussions that we have with them, the NPA through the Ministry of Transportation is willing to take over the construction and rehabilitation of these roads and the funding for that could be considered as part of our contribution to the consolidated revenue fund because indeed we revenue generating agencies contribute to the CRF fund and it is from the CRF fund that projects are done in the Ministry of Works and the federal government.
“We want to take over the construction of the roads because we have been having these dialogs for a long time and also the completion of the trailer transit park. I am struggling to get first certificate out of the Ministry of Works to enable us pay for Warf Road construction. The NPA has set aside N1.8 billion for the road but to get certificate from the ministry for us to pay is a challenge. In fact I even went to procurement and said give us any document to enable us pay or even start processing the payment. We have to think and push ourselves beyond the limits and immediate mandate to see how we can do as much as we can.
“We are also looking at other alternatives to evacuate cargo out of the ports including the flag off of export at the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal. I have given instructions to people in charge of certain important offices to give operators whatever they want to ensure efficient operations at the ports”.
The era of creating bureaucratic bottlenecks by passing files around to delay projects should be behind us. The NPA is doing what it can to resolve the issue of bad roads on the Apapa port environment. We must comply with directive and rules and regulation as nobody’ interest should be put ahead of the drive to ensure we have an efficient port. We must do the right thing to ensure access into our port locations.
“As regards terminal operators, we will be very high handed in the next few weeks because they must pay up their debts. We will ensure forceful withdrawal of your services, anything that is within the law and terms of concession agreement will be employed.
“I understand your complaints around your not being able to meet up with your GMT because of certain government policy reversals; you have concerns about diversion of cargo. However, I want to reiterate that indebtedness is indebtedness. Pay up what is owed the NPA within the shortest possible time.
“Regarding the review of concession agreements I also know it is good for us to conclude it as soon as possible. There are critical decision areas that I have directed our legal team to take a look at so that by May this year we can sign the supplementary agreements around the concession agreement. Critical among the issues is the consideration around the removal of GMT so that we are charging based on what is tenable”, she said.