From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, NCP Concludes Concessioning of the SLPA Container Activities with French Company Bollore
Nov 29, 2010, 12:18

Following several months of contract negotiations with the preferred bidder, National Commission for Privatization (NCP), on Thursday 25th November 2010, signed the Ports Concession Agreement with French Company Bollore. This was done in the presence of all stakeholders including members of the media.

The Concession relates to the Container Terminal activities around the specific demarcated concession area only for a period of 20 years. This would also allow the Government of Sierra Leone to develop other areas of the Freetown Ports in the future. The Concessionaire will be named “Freetown Terminal Limited”

NCP Chairman and Bollore Head of Delegation

The negotiations were led by the NCP Chairman Mr. Abu Bangura with a negotiating committee consisting of the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Mr. Momodu Allieu Pat-Sowe, Minister of Trade and Industry, David Carew, Financial Analysts Mr. Abdul Mansaray and Ms. Madonna Thompson, NCP Legal Adviser, Mrs. Victoria Jamina Andrews, 4 Ports Specialist CPCS Consultants (Arif Mohiuddin, Derrick Lichti, Ibrahima Jangana and Chiedu Ugbo) and the World Bank CMU Representative Mr. Sorie Kamara.

The SLPA General Manager Captain Benjamin Davies and the Ports Technical Team provided invaluable contributions during the negotiation process.

Ports GM Captain Benjamin O. Davies

After several months of tough but cordial negotiations, NCP assured that the Ports Concession Agreement reflected Sierra Leone’s interest and the privatisation and reform strategy. NCP insisted in the use of our Labour pool and the availability of positions for Sierra Leonean nationals thereby ensuring future succession planning. Both parties realizing the importance of building and maintaining the country’s capacity were also keen to encourage the use of various services provided by local companies.

Safeguards have been put in place to reflect Sierra Leone’s environmental, security and safety concerns. Bollore are fully committed to a long term partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone and will maintain an industry standard computerized terminal operating system interfacing the Ports, NRA and Customs which should provide effective monitoring of all goods at the Ports and income generated.

Trade and Industry Minister, David Carew, World Bank Rep., and Transport Minister Allieu Pat-Sowe

The total proposed investment in civil works and port handling equipment over the twenty year concession period exceeds USS 122 million, with the first initial phase exceeding $20m, which would mean visible infrastructural development and improvements within the first two years of the agreement.

Income to the Government of Sierra Leone includes an initial income of $6m (six million dollars) followed by an annual rental fee of $2.1m rising to $18.7m by year 20 and various other fees paid to the Landlord SLPA, with performance incentives and penalties to the Concessionaire.

Transport Minister at Signing Ceremony

Bollore’ who emerged as the most responsive bidder amongst several other International Port operators, is a French registered company listed on the Paris Stock Exchange. It operates several container terminals in the African region and has other business operations in Europe, South America, Middle East and Asia.

Ports in the African Region have successfully undergone similar Ports Privatisation, and the SLPA Concession will transform Sierra Leone into a trans-shipment hub in the West African region, thereby attracting further investment in other sectors.

Bollore Representative Signs whilst World Bank Rep. looks on

At the signing ceremony, NCP Chairman, Mr. Abu Bangura, described as transparent the bidding process for the concession of the ports terminal, noting that the highest bidder, Bollore was given the contract. He informed that the Sierra Leone Port Authority has been in operation for several years now but the government has not been receiving its actual benefits.

The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Allieu Pat-Sowe said the initiative for the ports is endorsed in the manifesto of the APC, as he puts it, “With an active private sector improvement, growth and development would be enhanced”.

Minister Pat-Sowe appending his signature

He maintained that privatization of the Sierra Leone Port Authority Container Terminal is the highest profitable privatization Sierra Leone has done in history.

The minister described the venture as a real transformation.

Head of Delegation, Bollore Group, said the company has been in existence since 1822 and with remarkable successes.

He disclosed that they have spent over 50 years in Africa, operating 16 Concessioning areas with effective standards.

He said Bollore always strategies to offer Africa what he referred to as a door-to-door service, adding that their aim is to improve things in Africa and enhance economic growth and development. He assured that very soon the port of Freetown will become the show case of Sierra Leone, as according to him, Bollore is going to make it well modernized, productive, safe and a gate way for all west African investors.

The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority, Captain Benjamin Davies also made a similar statement, whilst the World Bank Country Representative, Mr. Vijay Pillai, assured the country of their support towards the process for economic benefit and growth that will empower government to maintain development.

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