The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Lagos says it has cut a deal worth more than USD$86 million with the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to buy out the NPA’s remaining equity in the Lekki Deep Sea Port.
“Both parties have already executed an agreement to this effect,” the NPA said Friday in a statement that defended the management of the authority. The leadership was recently criticized for chasing away much-needed investment in Nigeria’s ports and maritime sector, at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari has focused on improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
A June 3 media account quoting the Committee of Maritime Professionals (CMP) cited their examples of an unfriendly business environment. They included a deal with the Manila-based International Container Terminal Services, Incorporated (ICTSI) at Lekki Port that fell through, and concerns over NPA’s contractual obligations and an impasse with the Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (Intels).
“From our discussions with operators, many other investors in the sector are holding back because of the unfriendly posture of the NPA boss,” the CMP statement said, referring to Hadiza Bala Usman. “Have you seen anyone invest any money at the port since the woman came in? No one will invest if contract terms will not be respected.”
The response from NPA details other investments in Nigeria’s ports, including a partnership agreement between Dubai Port World and Josepdam Port Services Limited that is near completion, and ongoing discussions to develop a DP World terminal near Lagos. Deals with the company are worth billions, NPA said, as are potential opportunities with Tanger Med Port of Morocco.
“The NPA believes that making the best of the vast opportunities that our maritime resources offer can only be derived from working together towards the same purpose,” the authority said, appealing for unity within the sector. There was no immediate public response from the CMP on the information.