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Grand Bassa Rep Says APM Terminals Agreement Is Bogus

Grand Bassa County District #3 Representative Matthew Joe has termed the concession agreement between the government of Liberia by members of the 53rd Legislature and the APM Terminals as bogus and called for its urgent review by the 54th Legislature.

Representative Joe in defense of his assertion referred to section 7.07 with caption “Service Rate” which he said gives the right to APM Terminals to automatically and unilaterally increase rate on services at the Freeport of Monrovia without the approval and consent of government.

According to Rep. Joe, that section of the concession agreement for APM Terminal at any time increases tariff whenever it wishes is at the detriment of the business people most especially Liberian owned businesses and also undermines President George Weah’s agenda.

It can be recalled that President George Mennah Weah during his inaugural ceremony on January 22, 2018 said that his government will prioritize the Liberianization policy and promote Liberian owned businesses and that Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy during his term as President of Liberia.

Rep. Joe further asserted that even with the concession being in the favor of the APM Terminals, they are still not in compliance of the agreement.

He noted that the APM Terminals is in violation of section 7.06 with caption “Marine Service” and section 7.17 of the concession agreement.

The Grand Bassa County lawmaker disclosed that section 7.06 provides that marine service shall be returned to the National Port Authority (NPA) immediately after five years of the coming into force of the agreement, while section 7.17 provides that Liberians should hold at least 50% of the eight senior management positions within five years as of the execution of the agreement, which he said the APM Terminals has operated for about eight years and is yet to adhere to those two sections of the agreement.

Rep. Joe averred that the marine service at the Freeport of Monrovia generates more money for APM Terminals. For this, Rep. Joe believes that APM Terminals does not want to return it to the NPA.

He disclosed that the tugboat charges the amount of US$5,600 for a single action to pull a vessel at the pier.

He is assuming that if a ship is pulled and pushed by a tugboat, the amount would be twice for a single vessel.

Representative Joe also disclosed that the pavement of internal roads at the Freeport, which should have being done by the APM Terminals as per the agreement, was done by the NPA in the tone of US$4 million for a 2.4 mile road.

Rep. Joe further noted that the concession agreement signed by the government and the APM Terminals does not have a review clause, which he said means that the concession agreement cannot be amended until the 25 years life span of the concession is over.

Therefore, the Grand Bassa County District #3 Representative has urged members of the 54th Legislature to explore every legal and available avenue to amend the APM Terminals agreement.

Meanwhile, the Plenary of the House of Representatives, after the reading of the communication of Representative Joe, forwarded it to the House standing committee on State Enterprise, Judiciary and Ways, Means and Finance to investigate the matter and make report to Plenary in two weeks.

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