Call for Action: Nigerian Ports Urgently Need Legal Framework and Economic Regulator, Says NCMDLCA President

Nearly two decades after the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo concessioned the nation’s seaports to private terminal operators, Lucky Amiwero, the national president of the National Association of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), expressed concern over the absence of a port economic regulator and a legal framework supporting the concessioning.

In a letter addressed to President Bola Tinubu titled “Privatising Nigeria Ports Without Legal Framework and Economic Regulator since 2005 till date,” Amiwero highlighted the need for the government to establish a committee of experts to address the deficiencies in the port privatization system. He emphasized that the lack of a legal framework has led to obstacles in the port system, resulting in high clearance costs, bottlenecks, inconsistencies, and charges unrelated to services provided by various organizations.

According to Amiwero, establishing a legal framework and a Port Economic Regulator would streamline processes, reduce the cost of doing business, and attract cargo and foreign direct investments (FDIs) to Nigerian seaports. He stressed the importance of addressing these issues to make Nigerian ports more competitive globally.

Amiwero also pointed out the challenges arising from the port concessioning, including the absence of holding bays, trailer parks, and government warehouses within the ports. He noted that these spaces, previously used to enhance port activities, were concessioned to terminal operators without providing alternatives, leading to congestion on port access roads and inefficiencies in cargo handling.

Furthermore, Amiwero emphasized the need for government intervention to address these challenges, including the establishment of holding bays, trailer parks, government warehouses, and an economic regulator to oversee terminal operators and ensure fair practices within the port system. He called for a comprehensive review of the port privatization process to rectify these deficiencies and enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Nigerian seaports.

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