World Bank Agrees To Grant Lagos State Loan To Fix Ports
The Nigerian Ports Authority is set to receive a loan from the Work Bank if the concessionaires are not committing to fix the ports on time.
The Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, announced over the weekend that many years ago they had contacted the World Bank for assistance with a similar project.
He described how there’s a two-week notice before they go into the terminal for inspection.
If terminal operators fail to invest, NPA may terminate the concession agreement.
Five operators were monitored to ensure they did what was expected of them in the NPA agreement.
The government followed the law when it renewed terminal operators’ concession agreements.
“We have had interest from the World Bank, IFC, Afri-Exim Bank and others. Surprisingly, it was the World Bank that actually gave money to the NPA to construct the part of Apapa port so many years ago. The World Bank has come again to tell us that if we need funding, they will give it to us,’’ he explained.
According Bello-Koko, “Tin Can Island Port, we all know what is happening there. The port is practically collapsing.We need to focus our budget towards the rehabilitation of those quay walls at the Tin Can port. We have taken a holistic review of decaying infrastructure at our ports and have decided that it is very important that we rehabilitate Tin Can and Apapa ports.
“What we have done is to start talking to lending agencies, even though we don’t intend to lend. We are telling the terminal operators that you people have operated these port terminals for about 15 years. How much money are you going to invest in these port terminals? We are telling some of them that their leases have expired, how much will they be investing in the ports?”
He said for the NPA to renew their concession agreements that have expired, about five of them, they need ed to have categorical commitment from the affected terminal operators on the development of these port terminals. If the terminal operators could not give a commitment, he said, they should either give the terminals to someone else or borrow money to rehabilitate those ports.
“However, if we borrow money to rehabilitate those ports, then what the terminal operators are paying will have to change? The rates will have to go up. If we don’t do that, these terminal operators will keep managing those places, and the ports will keep collapsing.
He further said: “Because of their financial interest, these terminal operators don’t want us to re-construct the affected port terminals because that will mean stopping them from operating.
“Again, the Minister also said the port terminals are in their worst state; that what is the plan of the terminal operators to invest more. Also, the NPA asked the terminal operators about their development plans for the port terminals.
“The affected terminal operators have been given temporary extension of six months. The essence is to ensure that the right thing is done at the ports. The essence is that we have value for money. If today, we revoke the current concession agreement and bring new people onboard, the new bidders will naturally pay the NPA far higher than what the current terminal operators are paying.
“We know this, but we are not yet saying that. What we are saying is that let’s sit on the table and create a concession agreement that is fair. We need an agreement that holds the terminal operators responsible for their actions.
“Before, if I or any of my colleagues can go into the port terminals, we have to give the terminal operators two weeks’ notice even when such visits is for inspection. We have to have an agreement that is fair and adds value for money,” Bello-Koko explained.
On the Eto E-Call-Up system, the NPA boss said there were plans to introduce another app to serve as a competitor for the current system.
“One of the major complaints by stakeholders against Eto is extortion. Yes, the Eto app itself once in a while suffers glitches, but the major complaint is extortion. That’s why we are having collaboration with the Lagos State Government and the Police Commands to checkmate the menace of illegal checkpoints.
“I have said that we are likely going to create a second app because we want to establish competition and give people alternatives aside Eto,” the NPA chief said.