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The position of issues addressed on mid-stream discharge, illegal berthing of vessels

The interactive session between port
concessionaires, private jetty operators and the Minister of Transport, Hon.
Rotimi Amechi on Feb. 22, 2016 addressed a number of key issues, and the one
concerning the mid-stream discharge and illegal berthing of vessels attracted
greater interest and attention.

The minister was firm on both issues as he
clarified his resolve to act according to provisions of the law saying, “I will
stick to the law” that guides the operations of both concessionaires and
private jetty operators.

“All private jetties must obey the law. We
will set up an enforcement committee. Anybody who breaks the law loses the
authority to operate as a private jetty.  As Nigerians we must learn
to respect agreements. This is a government of change,’’ he said.

Addressing officials of a private jetty
operator, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) who had complained that
the agreements were cancelled by former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu
Musa Yar’adua, Amechi said his ministry was aware of the existence of the

According to him, until the laws were
changed, operators should work within the laws approved for their operations.

Amechi who also said that “whatever is in
the concession agreement should be obeyed,’’ wondered why some private jetty
operators were encroaching into the activities that was meant for concessioned
port operators, which included receiving ocean-going vessels directly at their
terminals when such action was against the law.

The minister said that he had observed
that there was “a cacophony of voices’’ among terminal operators with each
operator struggling to protect its business territory and operating like a

He said such situation would not continue
because the Federal Government needed money to run affairs of state.

Reacting to claims by some private jetty
operators that there were no agreements or laws that established oil and gas
free zone and designated terminals to handle only oil and gas terminals, the
minister said his ministry was aware of such agreements.

Since there was no common understanding
that such laws and special terminals existed, the minister called for
submission of relevant documents from Intels Nigeria Limited, Ladol, NPA and
Shippers Council supporting their claims.

He said that such documents would be
submitted to the Legal Department of the Ministry of Transport before it would
be forwarded to President Muhammed Buhari for a final decision to be taken on
the issues.

“I will have no opinion on what will be
sent to the President’’, he said.
Amechi complained about the low level of
revenue accruing to the Federal Government from the maritime sector saying that
the development called for the need to move the sector forward.

He said that it has been decided that
transactions in the sector will be done in US Dollars, adding that the era of
granting waivers was over.

 Amechi observed that since the ports
were concessioned, there had not been much development in the growth and
development of terminals, saying that the situation has made it necessary for
him to meet with private jetty operators in March, 2016 to discuss the way

He said that since his ministry would
contribute 70 per cent of 2016 budget, a lot had to change in the maritime
sector for such feat to be achieved.

Amechi also announced plans to cancel
pilotage based on the information he had received and that such action would not
be taken if “there is a superior argument.’’

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