Nigeria government Set To Concession 4 Seaports
ABUJA – The federal government has concluded arrangements for the concession of four main river ports in the country.
The ports are Onitsha River Port in Anambra State, Oguta River Port in Imo State, Baro River Port in Niger State and Lokoja Port in Kogi State.
While the Onitsha River Port is said to have been completed and commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan, others are currently under construction. But the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, said at a transport stakeholders’ forum in Lagos yesterday, that the concession plan was to ensure that the necessary investment was made to drive the ports’ operations.
“I would like to highlight that the process for the concessioning of the Onitsha River Port which was commissioned by Mr. President in 2012, is in progress. Upon the completion of the Baro River Port in Niger State, Oguta River Port in Imo State and Lokoja River Port in Kogi State next year, they will all be concessioned out to private operators,” the minister said at the just concluded 13th edition of the National Council of Transport (NCT).
Umar disclosed that the project would be complimented by enviable maintenance dredging of the Lower River Niger channel as an ongoing initiative that would suffice, after the completion of capital dredging.
“I am happy to report that the processes for the award of contract for the dredging of the Lower River Benue and construction of Makurdi Port will be concluded before the end of the year,” he said. The minister noted that part of the effort of the federal government to develop a robust national dredging programme was on to ensure an effective collaboration between the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers and the private sector respectively.
Reacting to the concession plan of the federal government, a frontline freight forwarder and national president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nweke, said it was a welcome development, especially considering the results of the first port concessioning in the country.
“Well, the plan is good. Our governments are not known to be good business managers. But if this is to be done, let it be done with transparency. It should be given to companies that have the capacity to develop the ports and create good value and most importantly, a regulator must be appointed alongside the concession programme to avoid the mistake of the seaport concession in 2006,” Nweke said.