The Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Sambo, Friday, said that the concession agreement for terminal operators at Nigerian seaports would be concluded within the next 45 days.
Sambo made this known during his tour of Lagos seaports and terminals.
Recall that the review of terminal operators’ concession agreements has been ongoing for more than three years with several terminals operating with expired concession agreements.
According to Sambo, all necessary factors have been factored into the new agreement which is expected to correct the shortcomings in the first concession agreement.
He, however, commended the efforts of terminal operators in transforming port operations over the years even as he appreciated the massive job opportunities availed Nigerians at the terminals.
“At SIFAX alone, I have learned that over 7,000 Nigerians have been employed. Each Nigerian employed means that a minimum of ten people are being cared for either directly or indirectly.
“So, this means that SIFAX is responsible for feeding over 70,000 Nigerians. This is just one terminal caring for this number of people and probably educating their children,” he said.
He noted that automation was the only way to drive efficiency at the nation’s seaports and encouraged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to intensify efforts geared towards automated processes.
“While we encourage NPA to improve automation, we are thinking seriously about the port community system because it is crucial to the development of the maritime sector.
“So, with automation and an efficient port community system, all port processes will be enhanced very soon,” he said.
At the Tin Can Island Port, the Minister inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port Quay Apron, and directed the Managing Director of NPA and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
Sambo was accompanied on the tour of Lagos ports and railway by the Managing Director of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko; Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
Also among the entourage were the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, and executive directors of other transport agencies.