‘Nigerian ports key to regional trade integration’
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has described the nation’s harbours as critical to regional integration of trade, urging farmers to cultivate export-oriented produce to make the country an export nation rather than import dependent.
Bala Usman, at a symposium to mark NPA Special Day at the 41st Kaduna International Trade Fair, said Nigeria must consolidate its economic strength to lead regional integration and development.
Usman, who was represented by Hassan Danjuma, a General Manager, noted that regional integration through trade cannot be achieved by independent of seaports, adding that NPA would pursue policies and programmes to enhance performance of seaports in the country.
She said: “Friendly and competitive, the essence is to make our seaports a preferred destination in West and Central Africa sub-regions as well as Africa.”
She also urged farmers to develop cultivation of export-based produce to tune the pendulum from import to export based economy.
According to her, the Authority has initiated viable programmes to encourage cooperation with the international business community, to achieve the objectives of the Federal Government policy on ease of doing business in seaports.
She reiterated commitment to making the harbours more efficient and secure so as to contribute toward sustainable economic development, and called for collective efforts in making the ports a pride of the nation.
Meanwhile, about 16 vessels laden with various products, including, salt, sugar, petcoke, wheat, gypsum fish, general cargo and containerized cargoes are expected to berth at the Lagos ports between now and March 18.
Statistics released by the NPA, yesterday, showed that 15 other vessels had arrived Nigerian waters, waiting to berth at the Lagos pilotage district.
Also, three container vessels laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, are also waiting to berth at SBM and ACJ jetties, but were yet to be cleared due to CRNAPP (Customs Release is Not yet Applicable).