The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has dismissed the claims of a group called Committee of Maritime Professionals (CMP) who alleged that the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman has been on an anti-investors campaign since she assumed office at the Agency.
In a press statement sent to Platform Reporter on Wednesday, the Authority stated that “The attention of the management of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has been drawn to a news report in the Saturday, June 3, 2017 edition of THISDAY with the headline “Stop Your Anti-Port Investors’ Campaign, CMP Counsels Usman”
The report, which was based on a statement said to have been issued by the Committee of Maritime Professionals (CMP) alleged that the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman had continued in some “hard line posture” that is capable of frustrating investors and would be investors in the Nigerian maritime sector.
To prove its insinuation that ongoing reforms at the NPA runs contrary to the change agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration determination to increase the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country, the CMP cited the recent withdrawal of International Container Terminal Services, Incorporated (ICTSI) from the agreement to develop and operate a container terminal within the Lekki Port in Lagos
It also cited the current breakdown in the contractual terms between NPA and the Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (Intels) as evidence of the NPA MD’s alleged unfriendly posture, which may soon lead to divestment in the sector. It imputed political undertones to the situation with Intels and alleged that NPA has continued to disregard contractual obligations.
After studying the newspaper report and the allegations against the leadership of the NPA under Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, we are convinced that the CMP could not have been motivated by anything other than the nationalistic. We therefore want to thank the group for its interest in the continued development of the sector as well as the larger Nigerian economic landscape, a country in which we are all major stakeholders.
We should however point out that even in the zeal for the betterment of the sector, stakeholders must avoid the temptation to be carried away by emotions with the effect of making statements that may mislead the public.
For the avoidance of doubt, the NPA is committed to realising the utmost potential of the maritime sector in the country. And in achieving this, the interest of the country is placed above any other factor including existing contractual agreements that may have short-changed the country.
We must state emphatically that even in our enthusiasm to improve the ease of doing business and increase revenue accruable from our operations, we are guided by global best practices without any prejudices at all.
In all, the current management of the NPA is committed to continue to do business with existing concessionaires and collaborators whose ethics respect the principles of shared prosperity and the rights of Nigeria to earn the best dividend possible from its natural endowments and investments.
Although we have started to see positive results, including massive investments in areas that the CMP is worried about, to optimally achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves, we covert the support and partnership of the CMP and like-minded organisations.
We are happy to report for instance, that proponents of the Lekki Deep Sea Port have recently informed the NPA of the readiness of the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to take up the balance of NPA’s equity to the tune of US$86,810,000.00(86 Million, eight hundred and ten United States Dollars) which the NPA is currently unable to bear. Both parties have already executed an agreement to this effect.
Globally acclaimed Dubai Port World popularly known as DP World is also currently close to signing partnership agreement with Josepdam Port Services Limited, operators of the Bulk Terminal( Terminal A) at Tin Can Island Port Complex. This venture will see DP World deploying its resources to upgrade and deliver world class services at the facility.
In the same vein, the NPA is currently working with DP World to actualise the organisation’s determination to invest in Greenfield port opportunities in this country. The plan is to develop a DP World Terminal in the Lagos area and a suitable site is currently being sought. Both the brownfield as evident in the agreement on the Bulk Terminal and the Greenfield are investments worth billions of United State Dollars.
It is also noteworthy that Tanger Med Port of Morocco has equally indicated interest to invest in a variety of opportunities that the Nigeria economy presents. These include the development of Greenfield Terminal, Logistics Base and warehousing. Like the other listed above, this Foreign Direct Invest (FDI) also run into billions of dollars.
The NPA believes that making the best of the vast opportunities that our maritime resources offer can only be derived from working together towards the same purpose. Nigeria stands to gain a lot from our unity and we appeal to all stakeholders in the maritime sector to let us work in unity for the prosperity of our country.