by crossriverwatch admin
The federal government has approved a new joint venture (JV) partner for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the dredging of Calabar port channel.
Managing Director of NPA, Alhaji Habib Abdulahi, who confirmed this to journalists in Lagos, said the JV will not start until issues surrounding the controversial dredging contract were resolved.
Equity participation in the JV agreement is 60 per cent for NPA and 40 per cent for the company, in the ratio of 160 million shares belonging to NPA and 140 million to the firm. It is expected that with the approval of the JV by the federal government, a fresh bid to dredge Calabar channel will commence before the end of the year.
The fresh move will not only ensure the dredging of the channel but also the removal of wrecks and derelicts. It was gathered that the Calabar dredging contract may have been won by Calabar Channel Management Limited which has some Nigerians fronting for some top government officials on its board of directors.
Presently, only Bonny and Lagos channels are regularly dredged with the involvement of Bonny Channel Management Limited (BCC) and Lagos Channel Management Limited (LCM) respectively.
The dredging of Calabar channel has been the most controversial in the history of the authority as the processes leading to the award of contract have been mired in sharp practices, allegations and counter allegations as various interest groups within and outside the corridors of power jostle to get the contract.
The contract has been awarded and re-awarded, yet the channel remains non-navigable and shallow, hence unable to attract big draught ships.
THISDAY had reported that in 2005, the contracts for the management for four channels in Nigeria namely Lagos, Bonny, Calabar and Warri were advertised. The bid was conducted internationally by Mobotek, a Holland consulting firm where about 49 international companies applied.
At the end of the pre-qualification exercise involving the technical and financial bid verification with series of bid clarification meetings between NPA, Federal Ministry of Transport, some companies emerged.
These include: DEPASSA leading a consortium of companies for Lagos Channel, Dredging International Services, leading a consortium of companies for Bonny Channel, Niger Global Engineering leading a consortium of companies for Calabar Channel and Forby Engineering leading a consortium of companies for Warri Channel.
Though the management of Lagos and Bonny Channels were executed, the ones in Calabar and Warri were not executed.
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