Transportation minister tasks council on port community system before May 29
By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Sambo, has appointed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as port regulator to establish a Port Community System (PCS) before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Sambo made the call when he paid a visit to the council in Lagos on Friday.
According to Sambo, Nigeria needs a port community system that can compete favourably with its counterparts.
The minister cited the Republic of Benin as a country that has working port community system.
“You are the regulator of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and other agencies that have anything to do with the port.
“The responsibility is on you to ensure we have a port community system. I think it is because we have not placed the responsibility on somebody, that’s why we have not been able to achieve the PCS.
“Next week, I will call you and other agencies and roll-out the issue. We must have a PCS working for us in Nigeria before the administration comes to a close,” he said.
Sambo, however, noted that NSC would be held responsibile if a PCS was not provided by May 29.
He urged the council to look at a country with an effective port community system and replicate its template for Nigeria.
“This is a question of direct procurement, we’re not going to circumvent the law of the land. The Public Procurement Act gives us opportunity to do direct procurement.
“You need to coordinate as I have given you the role today,” he said.
According to him, having a single window is attainable if the country had a functioning port community system that works, because all that is needed is integrating those presently available.
On concessioning of terminal operators’ leases, he noted that the NPA should not have recommended to the ministry its renewal without the impute of the council.
“Renewal of leases should be done terminal by terminal, with original agreement, Keep Performance Index (KPI) should be looked into, to know if they have met with the development plan, cargo traffic, revenue and others.
“Others include the obligations incumbent on them, how they have performed, everything should be clear and if they have achieved what was set out to achieve,” he said.
Sambo noted that port reforms were meant to achieve efficiency, increase cargo, revenue amongst others.
He urged the council to ensure that when terminal operators leases were not to be renewed, they must be bold enough to say so.
“I am going to give you this role. So start getting ready for it, get the concession agreement that was signed in 2006, identify all the KPI’s now, lock everything in your system and be ready to work,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, NSC, hinted that the minister of transportation on some of the tasked achieved by the council.
According to Jime, the council has been charged to focus on some of the tasks that can quickly be achieved within the time frame given to it.
“I told you that we needed to complete the process of the development of the inland dry port infrastructure put in place, as well as update on other key transport infrastructure being promoted NSC.
“We accompanied you this month together with the President to deliver on your first low hanging fruit in the industry, the Dala dry port and also the Funtua as the port of origin and destination.
“These are key transport infrastructure that will aid the policy of the federal government as regards exportation,” he said.
Jime explained that the next milestone was the implementation of the cargo tracking note as well as its history and challenges.
Jime noted that the minister had given the assurance on the implementation of the note.
He stressed the need to strengthen the legal framework of the NSC to be able to perform its functions and bring about efficiency at the port.
“The funding source of the NSC is completely inadequate. The one per cent freight stabilisation levy is the main source of the NSC and we have never been able to access that source of revenue,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the visit had in attendance the board and management team of the NSC as well as the entourage of the minister. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa