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Nigerian ports flaunt $15 billion facilities to aid international trade

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[FILE PHOTO] Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman

Nigerian seaports currently flaunt about $15 billion-worth facilities that have aided the inflow and outflow of about 85 per cent of goods and services into the country.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, disclosed this at the presentation of a book: “Footprints of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Maritime Sector,” written by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN), in Lagos.

Bala Usman said it is undeniable that the maritime sector is a major contributor to the economy, like the oil and gas sector, which is the country’s economic mainstay, and almost completely dependent on the sea.

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The book chronicles the activities of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), and the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRIFFIN).

It was reviewed by NSC’s Hassan Bello, and NIMASA’s Dr. Dakuku Peterside.

Usman, who was represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operation, Dr Sekonte Davies, said the present government has recognised the role of maritime sector to the economy, and therefore put several measures in place to buoy the industry including 25-reform plan, which is currently being pursued.

She said: “Nigerian ports are a major gateway into the country with over 85 per cent of all the goods and services coming into the country, exploiting facilities at the nation’s seaports with aggregate value exceeding the $15 billion mark annually.”

According to her, this administration has taken major steps to improve the maritime industry in the last three-and-half years.

“The truth is that it would be impossible to speak about all the steps that have been taken to improve the maritime sector within the past three years,’’ she said.

Chairman, Board of Trustees, SCAN, Bolaji Akinola, said the book was put together by the association to acknowledge the commitment of government to the betterment of the maritime industry, and to serve as a source/reference document for future generations.

He said it is also on record that the huge infrastructural deficit facing the sector is being addressed by the present government. He added that the lack of scanners in the ports, severely dilapidated port access roads, lack of rail evacuation of cargo from the port as well as dysfunctional inland container depots, from our perspectives as reporters, are issues the present government has decided to tackle headlong.

Akinola said the group has also written series of reports on the efforts of government to address several other inherited challenges, including the poor state of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron; lack of seatime experience for Nigerian cadets; lack of access to finance by indigenous ship owners; safety and security on Nigerian waterways, among many others.

“With the level of commitment shown by this administration, we have no doubt at SCAN that Nigeria will emerge among the top 20 maritime economies of the world in another four years,” he stated.


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