‘Ports concessions buoyed shipping growth, revenue in 13 years’ - THE GUARDIAN
By Sulaimon Salau
For the past 13 years, the ports concession deal struck by the Federal Government with the private Terminal Operators have yielded massive growth and generated huge revenue into the government’ coffers, the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) has said.
The BPE’s Director in charge of the Post Privatisation Department, Yusuf Adamu, during an inspection of APM Terminals Apapa, said the concessionaires at Lagos port has invested about $350 million (about N126 billion) to develop infrastructure in the last 13 years.
He said the investment has resulted in significant improvements in productivity, with zero waiting times for vessel berthing and a doubling of container volume.
After a thorough inspection of the facilities, the BPE expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance and the post-acquisition plan by the terminal operators at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
Adamu said the investments and revenue contribution by the port concessionaires to the government in the last 13 years has been massive.
He said: “Before the concession, this place was like a market, with uncontrolled movements of people leading to rampant thievery. Some of the quay areas you see now were taken up as residential places until after the concession.
“You can see the level of investments and expansion made by the concessionaires which are in millions of dollars, and these facilities will eventually revert to the government at the end of the agreed period. This is outside their regular throughput and annual lease fees, which they have never defaulted since the takeover in 2006, which is in millions of dollars.
“Meanwhile, before concession, these agencies that are now contributing revenue and employment generation were some of the drain pipes of the national treasury.”
The Managing Director of APM Terminals Apapa, Martin Jacob, speaking after the BPE visit, assured of the company’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy. He also expressed support for the Federal Government’s non-oil export drive.
In 2016, the leading global terminal operator acquired four additional (Rubber Tyre Gantry cranes (RTGs), increasing the total to 14, which is the highest by any port operator in Nigeria.
In 2013, the terminal restored a regular rail service, running three times per week to the inland cities of Kaduna, 730km (455 miles) and Kano, 960km (600 miles).