Tony Elumelu recently admonished government agencies to create the friendly environment needed to attract and retain investment in the country, to accelerate growth and development.
The hostile atmosphere created by the present NPA management under Hadiza Bala Usman has resulted in investor apathy and suspension of projects including some deep seaport projects across the country.
In May, Manila-based container terminal operator, International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) terminated an agreement to develop and operate a container terminal within Lekki Port, Lagos largely due to the hostile environment pervading the port system.
ICTSI’s subsidiary, Lekki International Container Terminal Services LFTZ Enterprise (LICTSE), and Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise (LPLE) agreed to terminate the sub-concession agreement signed in 2012, citing delays in the execution of the project as the main reason.
However, less than two months after terminating its port concession deal in Nigeria, ICTSI has found a welcoming environment in Congo and has earmarked a princely $39.7 million (N12.1 billion) for investment in dredging of the Congo River to enable direct calls of vessels at the ports of Matadi and Boma.
ICTSI yesterday said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Belgian firm Dredging International to deepen the Congo River.
The project will involve the deepening of the Congo River in phases to an eventual depth of at least 12.1m, allowing mainline vessels to make direct calls at the ports of Matadi and Boma.
ICTSI currently operates the new Matadi Gateway Terminal in Congo.
The Matadi Gateway Terminal is a joint venture company between ICTSI, the Ledya Group and SCTP SA.
Several Nigerians have expressed concern over NPA’s unfriendly disposition, which is attracting not only investor apathy but litigations.
Usman has also been accused of castigating port investors and operators on the pages of newspapers, a development considered strange to the port environment and which has contributed to loss of confidence and lack of progress in the industry.