The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, has reaffirmed the position of the Nigerian Ports Authority for the total reconstruction of Quay Walls of the Tin Can Island Port Complex, which have become weak due to age.
Senator Saraki made this known during her tour of the Lagos Port Complexes on Monday.
The Minister said: “We cannot build on a weak foundation.
“It is vital that we get these two very important ports modernised and ready to berth modern vessels.
“The state of the port shows decades of neglect but it’s better late than never.”
The position of the Minister is in harmony with that of the Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, who had allayed fears of the imminent collapse of the Tin Can Island Island Port Complex as the Authority is concluding funding options, including talks with competent multilateral funding institutions and the possibility of using a percentage of the revenue or transfers to Consolidated Revenue Fund to fund the reconstruction.
It will be recalled that Koko had at several interactions with the media drawn attention to the fact that “although the NPA had over the years been undertaking remedial works on the quays, the time has come for a wholistic reconstruction and the Authority is working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation on the most prudent funding option.
“We are on the verge of concluding discussions with multilateral funding agencies to fund the reconstruction.
“The other option is to go to the government to request that the NPA be allowed to use a certain percentage of its revenue, which is transferred to the Consolidated revenue fund on yearly basis to fund the reconstruction.
“We transfer about N60 billion a year and we can use about 50 per cent of that to repair Tin Can.
“Another option is to do hybrid funding where NPA funds part and multilateral agencies fund the rest.”
Koko said the final option is for the terminal operators to fund the reconstruction but the issue is that not all the terminal operators have the same financial capacity or will be able to source funds at the same time.
To him, the NPA does not want a haphazard reconstruction because starting Terminal A without funding for reconstruction of Terminal B may affect the safety and integrity of the berths neighbouring berth, adding that the process will be properly coordinated working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation to make a decision that would be taken at the right time and properly.
He added: “Cognizant of the urgency of the situation on ground, we might soon be seeking for Federal Executive Council for approvals.
“We have started working on securing a wholistic interim and conceptual design for the port, and we will eventually get the final design on move unto the Procurement process.”