Princess Vicky Haastrup, C.E.O ENL Consultium
- Says it’s multiplier effects is noted globally!
- As New vehicle imports fall by 90 per cent
The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup has genuinely lauded the Federal Government on its foresight, particularly in concessioning terminal operations at the nation’s seaports, stressing that its success has made it an enviable model across the world.
Haastrup who made the observation on Wednesday also noted that multiplier effects of the success of the 2006 ports concession programme in Nigeria, has encouraged Government to work towards extending the model in other sectors of the nation’s economy.
“What concessioning does is free government resources for the provision of other social services to the people. Government remains the ultimate owner of the concessioned facilities but the private sector is mandated to develop and operate those facilities under agreed terms over a certain period.
“This is a worthy model, which has not only improved operations at our ports, but has also attracted commendation from within and outside the country.
“After Nigeria’s port concession, we now have countries like Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana and even Greece adopting our model. The Liberians and Ghanaians sent delegations to understudy our port conession model to develop theirs.
“Also recently, the Greek Government concessioned the Thessaloniki Port, which is one of its most important public infrastructure. This is a clear indication of our success as a nation in building models worthy of emulation by others”, Haastrup pointed out, noting Federal Government’s disposition towards adopting the concession model for the railway and aviation sectors.
“I have implicit confidence in the present government’s ability and commitment to the improvement of public infrastructure in the country and one is delighted to note that concessioning has become the model being adopted for both the railway and aviation sector reforms,” she said,
The STOAN arrowhead also commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for launching a Safety, Information, Operation and Communication Centre to enhance 24-hours operation at the port.
“The commissioning of this centre and the recent launch of four new tugboats by NPA will deepen reforms at the port. It will complement the efforts of terminal operators to make our ports competitive,” she said.
It would be recalled that before terminal operations were concessioned in 2006, Nigerian ports faced major challenges which placed them among the most inefficient in the world.
Subsequently, before concession, the average waiting time for ships before berthing was 21 days, vessel turnaround time was seven days while dwell time for cargo was as high as 45 days.
Virtually all the major seaports across the country were heavily congested leading to insecurity and pilferage, delays in cargo clearance and inefficiencies in cargo handling largely due to manual processes. As a result of the challenges, the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2006, concessioned cargo handling operations at the ports to 25 terminals operators under various lease agreements raging from 15 to 25 years.
The private terminal operators have since invested about $2billion in modernizing and upgrading their various terminals as well as in manpower development.
As a result of the huge investment, ship waiting time has ben eliminated to zero days while vessel turnaround time has also improved significantly based on cargo type.
But most importantly, Congestion at the various ports have also been eliminated, resulting in huge running cost savings, of about N30 billion, annually.
In the meantime, only 350 new vehicles were imported by Nigerian auto firms in the first quarter of this year, which shows a drop of about 90 per cent over 3,500 recorded in the same period last year.
The Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo, who gave the statistics at a press briefing in Lagos, attributed the development to high duty on imported cars, shortage of foreign exchange and economic recession.
Similarly, he said the total retail sale of new vehicles for the first quarter of 2017 stood at 2,000 units compared to 5,500 units sold last year.
Although he said the fall in vehicle imports was also witnessed last year, it was not as pronounced as this year’s.
For instance, he recalled that the total vehicles imported into the country in 2016 dropped to 7,000 from 18,000 in 2015.
According to him, the total retail market plunged by about 42 per cent from 32,000 units in 2015 to 18,000 in 2016.
He, however, said commercial vehicles sold more last year at 70 per cent than passenger cars, which recorded 30 per cent of the total sales.
He also said the total forecast for the year was between 8,000 and 10,000 vehicles.
“The scarcity of forex affected business last year and that affected importation. Also, there was the devaluation of the naira. Whereas in the first quarter of the year, the United States dollar was just about N200, by the end of the year, it had doubled. So, prices of vehicles also doubled in the space of one year and a lot of businesses could not afford to pay for the increase given that they were also struggling to survive,” he said.
Ade-Ojo, however, added that Toyota Nigeria had the lion’s share of 43 per cent of the 2015 imports, and 38 per cent of 2016 vehicle imports.
The TNL boss also said while 22,000 new vehicles were sold in 2015, 18,000 units.
The Federal Government had jacked up the import duty on cars from 22 per cent to 70 per cent to discourage vehicle importation and crashed duty on imported vehicle components by auto assemblers.
Additional report from Punch