The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council are set to revive six moribund ports whose contracts were signed in 2006.
To commence the process, ICRC on Wednesday held a meeting with NSC, which is the owner of the projects, and the concessionaires, according to a statement.
The purpose of the meeting was to get the six inland container depots located in each of the geopolitical zones of Nigeria to become operational.
The statement quoted the commission’s acting Director-General, Mr. Mike Ohiani, as saying that when completed, these ICDs would bring the required benefit to the country Nigeria.
“We are not unaware that at the material time that the contracts were signed, ICRC as a commission had not been set up, so no proper outline business cases were done for the projects like we now do, but I want us to have a frank discussion so that we can chart a way forward,” he said.
The commission reminded the concessionaires and that NSC that by its Act, it is to take custody of all PPP contracts including the ones for the ICDs.
The states where the ports are located and the level of progress by the concessionaires were listed as Oyo State (10 per cent), Abia State (five per cent), Plateau State (29.7 per cent), Kano State (55 per cent), Katsina State (68 per cent) and Borno State (five per cent).
According to the statement, the concessionaires told the ICRC that the 16 years’ journey had been fraught with various challenges that had hampered any progress that could have been recorded.
It said the concessionaires complained of poor cooperation from state governments, which they said mostly delay in meeting their own part of the agreement, citing land provision as an example.
They said another major challenge was the lack of narrow gauge rail lines in and out of the dry ports, which they noted was important to make the operation of the ports efficient.
They added that access to funds also remained a major issue as banks and foreign investors made unreasonable demands for assets and bank bonds before the release of funds.
The concessionaires unanimously stressed the need for the ports being constructed to be given the status of port of origin and destination and also to be registered with the International Chamber of Commerce upon completion.