Shippers' Council Must Do Performance Audits On Terminals Under Concession Agreement — Sambo

Shippers' Council Must Do Performance Audits On Terminals Under Concession Agreement — Sambo

Kathy Kyari 

The Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) has been tasked by the Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu'azu Jaji Sambo, to conduct performance audits on the companies as a requirement for any lease renewal. This order comes as numerous terminal operators compete to renew their expired seaport concession contracts.

At a briefing with the NSC Governing Board members, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, the NSC Executive Secretary, as well as management staff held on Friday at the Council's headquarters in Lagos, the Transport Minister issued this instruction.

Sambo voiced his displeasure that requests for concession agreement renewals from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had been made without verifiable information on how the terminals were performing in relation to the commitments made in the initial concession agreement, contending that NSC is the best option as the port economic regulator.

“NPA ought not to have recommended to the Transport Ministry the renewal of the leases and concession for terminal operators without an input from NSC. As port economic regulator, NSC should provide a comprehensive report detailing the accomplishments of the operators. Do it terminal by terminal. Outline the encumbrances the terminals faced and provide data to measure their performances,” the Minister said.

Sambo pointed out that NSC was not involved in all phases of the concession agreement review, but that this early omission better prepared the Council to provide an independent review of the concession agreement's final outcome and recommendations based on verifiable data and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the terminal operators.

The NSC report will be appended and sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for final approval of the concession contracts for terminal operators, according to the Minister.

Also, the Minister instructed the Shippers' Council to establish a Port Community System (PCS) within the following three months and advised the Council to report any organizations or people obstructing the achievement of the objective.

Sambo, on the other hand, conveyed his satisfaction with the Council's degree of technological development and emphasized that, in terms of automation, NSC is prepared for the monumental task of implementing the electronic Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) that recently received FEC approval.

The Minister lists a few advantages of the CTN, such as lower operating costs at the ports, less need for physical inspection of goods, increased trade intelligence, port safety, and national security, among others.

In his opening speech, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, commended the Minister for making President Muhammadu Buhari aware of the importance of the CTN and for working to secure FEC approval.

After the Minister's appointment, Jime recalled that he had emphasized the necessity of accelerating the development of inland dry port (IDP) projects across the country as one of the Minister's "low hanging fruits" and praised the Minister for the prompt accomplishment of Dala dry port and Funtua dry port.

“You have proven to be an industry man who promotes collaboration, teamwork and diligence in order to deliver a maritime sector that stimulates national economic growth. Your profile showed that you’re an industry man, but we had mixed feeling first as a result of the optimism and hope and the second feeling was trepidation because you were at NPA and NIWA. We wondered what will be our fate, but you quickly dispelled all of these fears with your actions,” Jime said.

In a vote of appreciation, the chairman of the NSC's governing board, Lawal Samaila Abdullahi, commended the honorable minister for his efforts to promote the sector's growth and urged Sambo to consider the NSC's wage review in order to be competitive with other organizations in the sector.

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