The Managing Director of Liberia’s National Port Authority (NPA), Dr. Bill Twehway says establishing effective port concession is vital to the economic emancipation of thriving nations especially across Africa subject however, to the integrity of the processes that accompany it.
MD Twehway made the statement on July 23, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria at the 2019 West African Ports & Rails Evolution Conference. He was a member of a panel of port managers and experts from across Africa.
He said concession does not only reduce operating cost to a significant extent, it also minimizes the undue influences public officials in management and operations of port and their utilization of revenue generated from these deals.
“Effective concession takes away operational burden and puts private resources to the disposal of governments or concession entities,” Dr. Twehway told his audience.
The Liberian Seaport Chief stressed that if done under a conducive atmosphere by honest and nationalistic port sector experts, establishing effective port concessions is not only good but very vital.
Dr. Twehway emphasized that if the desired end-result for the establishment of an effective port concession is economic prosperity, then the beginning and the entire concession process must be based on best practices. He added that port experts, who have a clear cognitive map of the future state of the port sector, should be the people to initiate the concession process and the governing authorities may guide the process void of selfish interests, such as “bribe taking” and greed for a “secret share” in the concession. When this is done, he believes such jealously guided process would fairly attract internationally competitive bidders and thus yield the best results for the Country.
The NPA Boss drew his audience’s attention to the mammoth investment opportunities that abound in Liberia especially in the proposed Inland Port and Economic Zone Projects.
“To establish an effective port concession, every honest effort should be exerted to ensure a clean process that would abhor greedy investors from going beyond conventional “lobbying” to grossly attempting to buy the entire process. Efforts must at the same time be exerted to deter and prevent unpatriotic citizens who seek immediate clandestine personal wealth, from succeeding,” he maintained.
Dr. Twehway noted that from a free, fair and transparent process, an effective port concession can be easily established whereby both the concession entity and the concessionaire can both become winners.
He averred that it is in keeping with Liberia’s experiences the APM Terminal concession agreement which was entered into when the scars of the Liberian civil war was still fresh, and cognizant of the existence of a much more conducive and enabling atmosphere presently in Liberia, that we are now even more open to the establishment of additional concessions in the port sector of Liberia. “Not only are we ready for any form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) for our other three (3) ports: Buchanan, Greenville, and Harper, but we are even more anxious to receive such investment interests in the proposed Inland Port project in Nimba County, Liberia; and the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ), for which 1,200 Acres of land has been allocated at the Port of Buchanan”.
The Liberian Seaport Chief informed the gathering that the Government of Liberia, through the National Port Authority (NPA), has already identified and surveyed 175 Acres of land near a village called Kpoapa, in Nimba County, for the construction of Liberia’s first Dry Land Port. The proposed project spot, according to him, is ideally located by the Rail Road currently being used by Arcelor Mittal for its ongoing Iron Ore operations. “When completed, this Inland Port will serve as a major economic hub for Southeastern Liberia, and significant parts of Cote D’Ivoire, and of Guinea,” MD Twehway disclosed.