THE Chairman of the Nigerian Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) organising committee, Ayorinde Adedoyin, has blamed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for failure to review the Nigerian ports concession agreement after 10 years of operation.
It will be recalled that the Senate Committee on Marine Transport and House of Reps Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways had revealed recently during a joint hearing that the Nigerian ports concession agreement has not been reviewed in the last 10 years despite the fact that the agreement says it should be reviewed every two years.
Speaking exclusively to the Nigerian Tribune, Adedoyin explained that the NPA could have called for the review as at when due but chose not to do so.
“I think the NPA should be blamed for not calling for the review of the port concession agreement after a decade of operation. However, the terminal operators should not be totally exonerated from the blame as well because they could have called the attention of the NPA to the review after every two years if the conditions had not been favourable to them.
“The ports concession was an agreement signed between government and the private sector. NPA represented government while the terminal operators are the private investors. If conditions have not been right for the maritime concessionaires, i am very sure they would have called the attention of the NPA to the aspect of the agreement that calls for a review after two years.
“That is why I said we cannot totally exonerate the terminal operators from the blame, although the NPA should take the larger chunk of the blame because we operate a Landlord-Tenant port operation model.
“We need to understand that the port concession agreement was a document that was signed by the two parties involved. So if they both signed that every two years, it should be reviewed, and that was not done, then both parties should be blamed, although the regulator and landlord should take the higher blame.
“I have signed many business agreements in the past and if issues arise, people will ask you if you signed or were forced to sign. In the case of the ports concession agreement, both parties signed that it should be reviewed every two years.
“That it has not been reviewed for the past 10 years is totally wrong. Both parties should be blamed for not calling for the review, even though NPA, as the regulator should take the lion share of the blame.”
The Senate Committee on Marine Transport and House of Reps Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways have threatened to revoke the Ports concession agreement following irregularities observed in the extension of some terminal operators contract and the failure of the NPA to call for a review of the agreement 10 years fater.