By VICTOR NZE
Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has revealed that the Federal Government is losing huge revenue due to the non-dredging of the Calabar port channel.
A statement issued by Mr Alex Okoh, Head, Public Communications of the agency, in Abuja, Monday, quotes the Acting Director-General, Dr Vincent Akpotaire, as disclosing this at the post-privatisation monitoring of terminal operators in Calabar port.
Akpotaire who was represented by Mr Joseph Anichebe, the Director, Post-Privatisation Monitoring Department of BPE, added that the non-dredging of the channel had prevented vessels from coming into the Calabar port.
The BPE boss who also revealed that all the terminal operators complained that the non-dredging of the channel had led to a lull in their operations, further said that the situation which also led to a huge loss of revenue to the operators and the Federal Government ought to be addressed urgently.
Akpotaire who said that the BPE would immediately do a report on its assessment and present it to the Federal Government for quick intervention wondering why the dredging of the Calabar channel, which commenced some time ago was suddenly stopped.
According to him, though the BPE was not a party to the contract for the dredging of the Calabar channel, the BPE would intervene to ensure that the Federal Government dredged the port, noting that dredging was part of the concession agreement signed by the Federal Government with the terminal operators.
“We have interacted with port operators who told us why the port is not performing as expected and they have given the Bureau an avalanche of reasons why the port is not performing. The major challenge they say is the non-dredging of the Calabar channel.
“We are expecting the draught to be deepened but as it is now, no big or container-laden vessel can come into the port,’’ Akpotaire said.
The BPE boss said: “if the port is dredged, imports and exports would thrive’’.
According to him, if ships cannot come in here, there cannot be exports through this port.
He said the Calabar port was very central to the North-East, North-Central, South-East and South-South regions of the country, urging that the port should be patronised by shippers from Nnewi, Onitsha and Aba, saying that Calabar port should be the hub.
Wondering why there was high importation of goods through Lagos ports only, the BPE boss stressed the need for shippers to patronise Calabar port to ease their sufferings.
The Calabar Port was concessioned to Intels, Ecomarine and Shoreline Logistics in 2006.
In 2013, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) appointed a Channel Manager- Calabar Channel Management (CCM) in 2013. CCM started dredging the Calabar Port channel in 2014 but stopped.