• Summon Mamman, Ngige over electricity workers strike
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday said that Nigeria has lost N600 billion monthly to the gridlock and traffic congestion at Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos State, notably caused by the infrastructural decay of the facilities.
This is just as the House summoned the Ministers of Power, Saleh Mamman, Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige and the Acting Director general of Pensions Commission, Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar, over threats by the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees(NUEE), to shut down electricity transmission plants in the country.
The House equally urged the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and other relevant ministries and agencies of the federal government to as a matter of urgency commence repairs on the dilapidated infrastructures.
The House also called the attention of the government to the ports’ access roads, saying that they were in a sorry state.
The resolution of the House was as a result of a motion moved by Rep. Mzondu Benjamin Bem ( Benue PDP) and 5 others. considered and adopted at Wednesday plenary.
While moving the motion, Bem said that the two ports were key to the Nigerian economy, urging the government not to allow them to collapse.
He recalled that the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports were concessioned to private operators under the Federal Government Port Reforms and modernization policy for efficiency and cost reduction through privatization by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in 2006.
According to him, the lease/concession agreements were executed in 2006 wherein terminal operations were transferred to private operators with specific obligations to develop, operate and market the concession in accordance with approved Business Development Plans (BDP).
He added that while the Federal Government through Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) retained obligations of providing port access roads, dredging, water front security, pilotage, access to utilities, repairs of Quay Wall and Apron area.
He said: “The House is aware that Nigeria loses about N600bn monthly according to All African Publication of 21st December 2018, as a direct result of poor state of port access roads at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Port; Despite Plethora’s of intervention by the Government on the issue of traffic gridlock in Apapa and Tin can port, the unpalatable development has continued unabated with calamitous economic effect on the nation’s economy;
“Also Aware that all private terminal operators in the ports have met and exceeded covenanted obligations as regards investments in infrastructure, plants, equipment and payments of lease/throughput fees consistently over the years except for one or two affected by change in monetary and fiscal policies of government/”
Adopting the motion, the House asked the NPA to immediately repair the quay wall and apron at Tin Can Island port (RORO terminals) under the Concession Agreement to save the terminal.
It also mandated its Committee on Privatization and Commercialization to immediately convene a stakeholder’s consultative meeting to find a lasting solution to the gridlock and congestion at the ports’ access road.
The committee was given 8 weeks to conclude its mission and report back to the House for further action.
On electricity workers strike, the House equally urged the federal government to direct the Ministers of Power and labour to amicably resolve all issues as raised by NUEE.
NUEE, had issued a twenty-one day ultimatum to the Ministry of Power, threatening to shutdown electricity generation, transmission and distribution, if their pensions, salaries and associated benefits were not paid within the time. The ultimatum expired yesterday, Wednesday 11the December.
The House resolutions followed a motion of urgent National Importance moved by Deputy Leader of the House, Rep. Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu), on threats by National Union of Electricity Employees(NUEES), to shutdown activities in the Power Sector.
In his motion of “Urgent Public Importance”, Okechukwu, called on the House to intervene, to avoid a shutdown of operations in the sector and the consequent toll, the industrial strike will take on the economy of the country.