By Emmanuel Adesuji, Abuja.
The Senate Committee on Privatization and Commercialization has pledged to ensure that the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Lagos State Government collaborate to ease the traffic gridlock on the access roads to Apapa and Tin Can Ports, Lagos for the benefit of Ports Operators and other users.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Olugbenga Obadara made the pledge on Monday, September 15, 2014, in Lagos when he led other Senators on the first leg of their oversight visit to the Port Terminals in Lagos.
Obadara was responding to complaints by the Managing Director of Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL), Operators of Terminal E, Apapa Port, Mr. Abba Isa Bukar that the port access roads were in deplorable condition. He said “containers are continually falling off trucks while in transit, damaging vehicles daily while commuters face untold hardship thus, requiring prompt government attention”. The Senator said FERMA and the Lagos State Government would meet to iron out the grey areas to enable them tackle the gridlock.
He noted that as the nation’s commercial hub, the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports would not be allowed to deteriorate.
He said the Committee embarked on the visit to know how much revenue the Terminal Operators were generating for the Federal Government and also to know their challenges with a view to getting legislative intervention to restore them.
Earlier, the Managing Director had informed the Senators that since GDNL commenced operation in 2006, the company had embarked on massive infrastructural development and have ensured prompt payment of revenues accruable to government.
He listed insecurity, poor access roads, lack of an enabling law, litigation and lack of basic facilities as the challenges facing the company and ports operations in general.
On insecurity, the MD lamented the frequent attacks on the Terminal from a neighboring village, Sapokoji and called for increased security patrol by security agencies along the water front.
The MD appealed to the legislature for the urgent enactment of the Ports and Harbour Bill to attract more investments in the maritime sector.
At the ENL Consottium Limited, Operators of Terminals C & D, the General Manager, Mr. Mark Walsh emphasized that the entire workforce was 100 percent Nigerians adding that their capacity in cargo handling and other related activities had been developed to world class standards.
In his response, the Chairman of the Committee, Olugbenga Obadara, commended the giant strides made by the company. He urged the Bureau of public Enterprises (BPE) to review the concession agreements with the Terminal Operators to ensure that more revenues go to the Federal government.
At AP Moller Terminal, the Managing Director, Andrew Dawes informed the lawmakers that since takeover, the company had paid about $621,236,468 million to government as taxes.
The Committee members also visited Lilypond Container Terminal Ijora-also managed by AP Moller and Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL).
At ABTL, the lawmakers expressed displeasure with the performance of the management of the company and directed it to submit a comprehensive performance history latest Thursday, September 25, 2014.