The former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, has said that the challenges experienced before the concession of the Nigerian Ports to private terminal operators still persist.
He made the assertion while presenting the lead paper at the 34th anniversary of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) which held in Lagos recently.
The event which was tagged; “16 Years of Port Concession: The Pains and Gains” brought together doyens of the maritime industry to examine how the industry has fared in the last sixteen years of the port concession.
Bello opined that most of the challenges that bedeviled the system prior to the concession still persist thus hindering the nation from reaping the benefits of the reform.
Among the bottlenecks of the system, Bello outlined primitive cargo clearance procedures, lack of transparency, manual ports operations, high cost of doing business and delays in cargo dwell time asstill challenges hindering the country from reaping the benefits of the 2006 port concession reforms.
Bello said the government went into concession reform because the port sub sector was not contributing significantly to the economy, not well run, characterized by inefficiencies in operations, unbridled corruption and lacked synergy between the various sectors of that the various agencies report to.
He noted that although things cannot be said to be the same at the ports at the moment, some of the old challenges are yet to be overcome.
One of the highlights of the MARAN 34th anniversary ceremony was the conferment of meritorious awards to deserving industry operators, regulators and policy makers. Among the award recipients were the Minister of Transportation, Mua’zu Jaji Sambo, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Princess Vicky Haastrup who was honoured as the ‘Face of Port Concession in Nigeria’ and Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, as the Maritime Person of the Decade. Many other operators and stakeholders were also honoured at the event.