- NSC directed to set-up Port Community System in 3 months
Amid the jostling by several terminal operators to renew their expired seaport concession contracts, the Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has directed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to carryout performance audits on the companies as part of prerequisites for any lease renewal.
The Transport Minister gave this directive during an engagement with the NSC Governing Board members, the NSC Executive Secretary, Hon. Emmanuel Jime as well as management staff, at the Council’s headquarters in Lagos, today.
Sambo expressed dissatisfaction that requests for concession agreement renewals from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had been submitted without verifiable data on the performance of the terminals vis-a-vis the obligations as contained in the initial concession agreement, positing that as the port economic regulator, NSC is best placed to perform this role.
“NPA ought not to have recommended to the Transport Ministry the renewal of the leases and concession for terminal operators without an input from NSC. As port economic regulator, NSC should provide a comprehensive report detailing the accomplishments of the operators. Do it terminal by terminal. Outline the encumbrances the terminals faced and provide data to measure their performances,” the Minister said.
Noting that NSC wasn’t involved in some stages of the concession agreement review, Sambo opined the initial neglect better positions the Council to deliver an independent review of the final outcome of the port concession agreement and recommendation with verifiable data and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the terminal operators.
According to the Minister, the report of NSC will be attached and forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for final approval of the concession contracts for terminal operators.
The Minister also directed Shippers’ Council to set-up a Port Community System (PCS) within the next three months and advised the Council to report any agency or individual acting as an impediment to achieving the goal.
Sambo, however, expressed delight at the level of technological advancement at the Council, stressing that, in terms of automation, NSC is ready for the herculean task of implementing the electronic Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) which recently got FEC approval.
According to the Minister, some of the benefits of the CTN include; reduction in cost of doing business at the ports, reducing the need for physical examination of cargoes, improved trade intelligence, port safety, national security, among others.
In his welcome remarks earlier, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime commended the Minister for spelling out the need for the CTN to President Muhammadu Buhari and pushing to get the FEC approval.
Jime recalled that he had highlighted the need to expedite the progress of inland dry port (IDP) projects across the nation as part of the low hanging fruits for the Minister following his appointment and extolled the Minister for the swift realization of Dala dry port and Funtua dry port.
“You have proven to be an industry man who promotes collaboration, teamwork and diligence in order to deliver a maritime sector that stimulates national economic growth. Your profile showed that you’re an industry man, but we had mixed feeling first as a result of the optimism and hope and the second feeling was trepidation because you were at NPA and NIWA. We wondered what will be our fate, but you quickly dispelled all of these fears with your actions,” Jime said.