(Ecofin Agency) - The government of DR Congo announced a plan to crack down on illegal and clandestine private ports operating in the country. “All illegal ports will be immediately closed and the operators handed over to justice for exemplary and appropriate sanctions,” the Minister of Communication and Government Spokesman David Jolino Diwampovesa, said at the end of the Council of Ministers held on Friday, August 28.
The decision was inspired by the Head of State, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, who recalled the strict regulations in force concerning port activities in the country. Indeed, several reports reveal “that in violation of these regulations, many private ports are created illegally and operate outside the legality and principles governing the public domain of the State,” according to the Council of Ministers’ final statement.
For the government, this situation undermines, among other things, the monopoly of management and operation of ports granted to the Commercial Company of Transport and Ports (SCTP) by Order No. 71-307 of December 3, 1971. This text allowed the latter to manage formerly 90% of all Congolese maritime freight.
“The SCTP has today lost its competitiveness since these illegal private ports launched their activities,” said the government. “What is more serious is that, in most cases, the operators of these private ports close all access to various public services, including the police, customs, etc.”
The Head of State instructed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Transport, and the Deputy Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals to make a detailed report on this matter at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.