The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has revealed that plans are underway to review Joint Venture agreements of the agency’s seaport channel management and dredging contracts following errors noticed in some of them.
It would be recalled that the NPA, in 2005 entered into Joint Venture agreements worth around $150m Dollars with the Lagos Channel Management company (LCM), Bonny Channel Company (BCC), and the Calabar Channel Management company (CCM) to carry out capital and maintenance dredging of the Lagos, Bonny and Calabar seaport channels respectively. One of the contracts, the $56m Dollars Calabar port dredging contract generated controversy years after following discrepancy noticed in its handling, even as the dredging project has continued to be an issue of concern more than 10 years after.
Speaking last Thursday during a courtesy call by a team from the Oxford Business Group, United Kingdom, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman explained that, “We need to improve on our operational efficiencies. We need to be sure that the infrastructure we have is able to address the needs of the vessels that come into the country. We have noted some errors about our channel management that we need to expand on.
“We have channel designs in the Lagos pilotage area that we are looking at expanding to ensure the drafts are deep enough to accommodate big vessels and the berth locations are strong enough in terms of infrastructure to take such large vessels in.
“We have noted with concern the amounts of resources the government has been deploying in terms of dredging our channels. We are looking to have a more data based approach on expenditure of channel management and dredging.
“We have commissioned optimisation design of our channels, which will bring about the data that will guide what level and amount of dredging that is required within our respective channels. So this consultancy work was advertised in national tenders. We have evaluated it and believe the outcome of this design will guide the implementation of our dredging plan.
“We have noted some concerns in terms of capital dredging vis-à-vis maintenance dredging of some of these channels, and this is one of the areas we believe we need to improve on so that we can have a robust approach in our channels.
“For the Lagos pilotage district, we are looking at expanding the channels. We have detailed into consideration some areas that were hitherto not part of the channel management design. There are some jetties and tank farms location at the Lagos pilotage district which the channel design did not cover, as a result, the dredging plan does not go to those locations.
“So we want to expand the channels, which will translate to dredging works being done and bigger vessels going there.”
On the visitors delegations were the Oxford Business Group Regional Manager, Africa, Elise Postigo; Country Director Nigeria, Diana Rus and Editorial Manager, Davide Rasconi.