17 May 2010 – Over 2000 containers that were imported into Nigeria under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua are stuck at ports and bonded terminals across the country. The containers held items such as transformers, meters, cables and sundry equipments for use to uplift electricity projects in the country under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Bonded Terminal owner who said there were about 200 containers in his custody alone, said the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to oversee the power portfolio in the new Executive Council of the Federation, EXCOF, was an indication of the seriousness the new leader attaches to the power sector.
He said the government would do well to effect clearance of the containers than embark on fresh award of contracts for same equipments.
According to the source, "March, last year, the ministry summoned shipping companies and bonded terminal owners to accede to waivers as the importation of the NIPP equipments were special projects for the country".
He said that the worry was that the containers had since remained uncleared and attracting more demurrage and rent charges over the period.
A source privy to the importation claimed that the abandonment of the containers could be a result of non-payment to contractors by government which had resulted to abandoning the containers or refusing to take delivery and pay the necessary charges to port owners.
Analysts expressed optimism that with Jonathan now overseeing power portfolio, he would ensure that these importation, which they say are of high quality, are not wasted, but cleared immediately at the ports and the equipments put to good use.
The source said it was unfortunate that Customs officials who should protect such important importation were tampering with the containers and trying to auction them after labeling them "overtime cargo".