Expert advocates for phased port concession exercise

By The Citizen

The Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Ltd., Mr Asu Beks, on Monday said that the port concession exercise should have been better done in phases for more economic benefits.

Beks. a veteran maritime journalist, made the remark in Lagos while speaking as the Guest Lecturer at the ongoing 25th anniversary of the Maritime Reporters' Association of Nigeria (MARAN).

According to him, the ports concession is not a bad idea but it should have been done in phases for better understanding of how best to run port operations.

Beks, who was President of MARAN from 1989 to 1991, said that the operational challenges at the ports were created as a result of loopholes in the faulty implementation of the concession.

He, however, said that such operational challenges would be taken care of when the Ports and Harbour Bill is eventually passed.

Speaking on the Destination Inspection Service recently taking over by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Beks said that it was still an exercise on trial.

He said that the performance would show the level of preparedness by the service.

“The NCS, taking over the Destination Inspection service is very much on trial for now. The Destination Inspection service provision requires adequately-trained hands,'' he said.

He urged the maritime reporters to use the media advocacy tool for economic development.

Beks suggested that the media should set agenda through their reportage on the new policy on rice importation, the new automotive policy and the challenge of power generation.

“Report on issues for the purpose of economic development. For instance, look at the new rice policy and the automotive policy.

“How prepared is the nation to grow sufficient rice for the local population?

“How prepared is the nation in reviving and sustaining automotive plants to meet immediate needs?''

Speaking on the occasion, the MARAN President, Mr Bolaji Akinola, urged reporters to always consider national interest in every report they do.

He said the media had the responsibility of projecting the good of the nation and serve as watchdog through sound and educative reports, rather than negative reports.

“No society grows on negativism. Growth requires a positive orientation and it starts from the reports that you put out there for the public to consume.'

The lecture session was attended by the representatives of the Public Affairs Departments of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) who delivered goodwill messages.