THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) have formally expressed their desire to privatize North Harbor using the multi-operator scheme instead of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)-approved single-operator.
In a presentation at the joint hearing of the House Committee on Economic Affairs last week, NEDA director general Romulo Neri said both NEDA and PCCI want to have at least two operators competing against each other at the North Harbor.
This is not the first time that PCCI has changed its mind about the privatization scheme. Early this year, it wanted a single-operator scheme, a departure from its earlier proposed two-operator scheme, claiming so many firms competing for a very small market is not viable. It then changed its stand again in October, preferring a phased privatization of the terminal.
PCCI and NEDA each have one seat on the PPA Board.
As a result of the changes, the privatization program — supposed to start before year-end — faces further delays. There are fears that the delay may extend even beyond 2007, next year being an election year where many projects take a back seat to the political intramurals.
PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla, earlier said NEDA is not acting on its request for clearance of the privatization program since it wants to have a major shift in the terms of reference which the PPA submitted in July.
ÒApparently NEDA want us to have two operatorsÉ they are not acting on our request for clearance,Ó Sevilla said.
He said that if NEDA and PCCI really want to have multiple operators, they should come out with an official stand rather than block the privatization through inaction.
According to PPA officials, inefficiencies at North Harbor have caused many customers to transfer to nearby ports.