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Senate Mulls Bill To Scrap Nigeria Ports Authority, Privatize Ports

The Senate is deliberating upon a law to enable the transfer the powers of the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, to a new agency and privatize Nigerian ports to ensure transparency, effective management and improved safety.
The replacement for NPA as proposed would be Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority and a governing board, governed by the Minister of Transport.
The Bill is sponsored by Sen. Andy Uba to repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, 2004 and reenact the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority to Provide for the Ownership, Management and Development of Ports and Harbours.

The Bill proposes in part that for the provision of an “appropriate institutional framework for the ownership, management and development of ports and harbours”.

It states further that if privatised, it will “ensure the integrity, efficiency and safety of the ports based on principles of accountability, competition, fairness and transparency, and to encourage private sector participation in the provision of port services and port infrastructure and promote and safeguard Nigeria’s competitiveness and trade objectives”.

The Bill seeks to establish “an authority which shall be vests with control and ownership of all ports and harbours on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, transfer of the technical regulatory powers relating to ports to the Authority, and transfer of the ownership of the land and assets relating to ports currently vested in the Nigerian Ports Authority to the Authority”.

In reforming the sector, the Senators may also separate the cargo handling section of the authority from landlord functions within ports and foster greater operating efficiency, accountability and transparency in the management and operation of ports. The reform of the sector, would also provide for “safe navigation, development and efficient management of harbours, channels and waterways and all other conservancy functions”.

The Bill recommends the facilitation of “transfer of technology, information systems and managerial expertise through private sector participation in port operations, creation of means of planning, coordinating, developing and integrating port policies with other maritime activities, surface and air transportation systems”.

The piece of legislation also proposes to introduce “maintenance of appropriate institutional arrangements to support good governance and accountability in ports”.

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