Shippers, under the aegis of Shippers’ Association Lagos State, on Friday advised the Federal Government to do a complete restructuring of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The President of the association, Mr Jonathan Nicol, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The shipper said that NPA should rather be restructured and not to be run as a private enterprise as being suggested in some quarters.
“Privatising NPA is not the solution, especially with foreign investors. The ports should not be occupied by external bodies,” Nicol said.
He advised that government should be careful in privatising NPA, saying that it occupied a salient arm of the country and a pride of the nation.
“It deals regularly with coming in and going out of vessels. So, it is part of the security arm of government,” the shipper told NAN.
Nicol, however, said, “NPA was set up primarily as a terminal operator to facilitate trade.’’
“Private investors knowing how lucrative cargo management is, formed associations to compel the Federal Government to accept private oligopoly.
“Government should have looked for experts within the maritime community to reinstate the original concept of establishing the Nigerian Ports Authority,’’ the shipper said.
A former President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr Eugene Nweke, said that NPA should not be privatised.
He said that the spirit behind the NPHA bill should be subjected to “serious considerations’’ by members of the National Assembly.
The Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Chief Kunle Folarin, said, “we are aware of the Ports and Harbours Bill before the National Assembly’’.
“The only provision in the bill that reflects privatisation of any of the functions of NPA is the concession of cargo operations which in essence is to legalise the concession already in operation.
“We believe that the provision is in order. However, the bill has been in the assembly in various forms over eight years ago and should be given due consideration,’’ Folarin said.
Source: News Express.