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Buhari seeks efficient cargo evacuations at African seaports



President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged African nations to formulate policies that would enhance smooth evacuation of cargoes at seaports.

Opening a three-day conference of the African region of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) in Abuja, the president said he had directed that every port in the country be connected through rail.

He noted that the entire countries on the continent were facing similar developmental challenges hence the need for collaboration to develop infrastructure, particularly those related to water transportation.

His words: “Nations in Africa are also largely connected by the same developmental challenges as well as large human capital and natural endowments.

It behooves us therefore to work together and deploy our resources towards solving those issues that militate against our progress.

“Now, one of the resources that we can proudly speak about as Africans are our maritime endowment.

A situation in which at least 39 of the 54 countries on the continent are either littoral or island states makes the formulation of policies for the effective utilisation of our waters for the growth of our economies expedient.”

Besides the issues of adequate security and transparency, Buhari said another important factor deciding the competitiveness of ports was efficiency with which cargoes are evacuated to and from the ports. This, he said, needs a lot of intervention.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) had recently identified an infrastructure funding gap of between $130 and $170 billion.

For the continent to overcome the challenge, the Nigerian leader urged governments to put the issues in proper perspective and generate ideas that would aid formulation of effective policies.

He therefore reiterated his administration’s commitment to building infrastructure that support multimodal means of transportation from the ports to the hinterland.

“We understand that this interconnectivity will improve the country’s economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth.

“So for a start, I have directed that every port must have the complement of rail infrastructure.

Our projection is that by the end of 2021, we will have standard gauge railways across the main North-South trading route.

“The same level of seriousness is being given to the improvement of road infrastructure.

At the moment, 25 major highways and 44 roads are under construction across the six geo-political zones of the country, just as we have insisted on the stimulation activities.

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