The planned privatization of the ancillary services in the Nigerian Ports Authority by the management of the Authority to the third party has been describes as fraudulent and attempt to rip the nation off for the benefit of few individuals.
The four firms bidding to take over the jobs were also said to be phantom as they are neither registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) nor have an existing offices in Nigeria.
The President of the Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), Maritime branch, Comrade Benson Adegbeyeni revealed this to MMS Plus Weekly in his office, last week.
Com. Adegbeyeni maintained that he had been at loggerheads with the management of NPA over the planned privatization of pilotage, towage and mooring services carried out by the staff of NPA to third party.
He stated that the services are the core services performed by NPA and if given out, it could lead to retrenchment of workers even as he added that it is compulsory that the services be provided by the NPA as it is done in other parts of the world.
He said, “I took the names of the companies they want to give the contracts to CAC, I discovered that they are not registered, the addresses they give in Lagos are not existent.”
The companies include; Messrs. CTOW in association with Bonny Channel Management (BCC), Belgium which is billed to take over Onne port, Rivers state; Messrs. Slowater Nigeria Ltd in association with G>O. Marine Group West Australia to take over Port Harcourt port.
Others are: Messrs. Ibejide Services Ltd in association with Jedranski Pomoskl Servis, D.D. Rijeka, Republic of Croatia to take over Delta ports, Warri and Messrs. Global Spectrum Energy Services Ltd in association with Topaz Energy Marine, Dubai, Middle East and Damen Tugs and Workboats, Netherlands to take over Calabar ports.
Speaking further, the SSACTAC, Maritime branch President queried why the management of NPA suddenly wants to give out the job that the agency has been doing since inception to a third party even when the concession agreement opposes such arrangement.
In his words, “We went round the ports when I opposed it, I collected all the agreements, I studied them and I said no, this is fraud. Tell me, you give birth to a child and you say the child has suddenly known better than you in a job that you have been doing before you gave birth to the child.
“In fact, the concession agreement of 2006 states clearly that the core jobs of NPA will not be given out but because the engineering, marketing, tally clerks have all been given out, they still want to give out these ones.
“If you go inside the port, it was not like this when NPA was managing it, there was orderliness unlike now that everywhere is littered with trucks and you cannot enter Apapa.
He however added that the companies bidding to take over the jobs have no requisite facilities as they are requesting to lease or hire NPA equipment to start the job even as some of them want to buy the equipment as scraps.
According to him, the firms who claim to have been doing the job before are traceable to some government officials who intend to use them to siphon government money into their private pockets.
Meanwhile, Adegbeyeni said that NPA is only frustrating the services in the port in order to be able to carry out its agenda of privatizing the services saying, “All these are attempts to call a dog all sorts of names in order to kill it and eat it.”
According to him, when he visited some ports in company of some management staff, it was discovered that the reason some of the tug boats and other equipment are not working is because they are not being properly managed by the management.
He said at Calabar port, the reason the tug boats had not been working was because the port manger refused to give money for fuel for about ten months and the tug boat capsized where it was tied and eventually sank.
He said the same thing obtained in Port Harcourt and Onne ports where they also visited during the facilities tour, adding that in Warri, despite the fact that there was no tug boat, the workers still manage to berth vessels.
“They have two new tug boats newly purchased, they keep them in the dockyard for over one year, another two are coming may be this month or next month, why have they refused to send one to Warri and keep one in Lagos because of the volume of work?” he queried.