FG urged to back up ports reforms with law

A freight forwarder, Lucky Amiwero, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to legalise its ports reforms as a back up to transforming the nation?s maritime sector.

Business24

Amiwero, who made the call in Lagos, said that existing laws were not in consonance with the Federal Government?s ports reform processes.

“Ports concession for example is not backed up by law. It is outside the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act 38 of 1999.

“Besides, ports concession without a `commercial regulator` to monitor the shipping companies and the concessionaires will not produce tangible results.

“Without a commercial regulator, government might as well go back to the other models specified in the NPA Ports Act of 1999,? Amiwero said.

He said that due to lack of an enabling law backing the concession agreement, as well as poor compliance to the policy, ports charges in Nigeria were one of the highest in the sub-region.

According to Amiwero, the ports reforms have not justified all the promises made by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) about reducing cost of doing business in the country.

“If government is serious about trying to increase employment and generate wealth in the maritime industry, it needs to review many of its policies.

“Concession is a new tool; the policy document does not specify functions of the various government agencies.

“What is the work of NPA under the concession agreement???

Amiwero said that there were existing laws that were comprehensive enough and that could be adopted to develop the ports.

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