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‘Appropriate ports’ infrastructure critical to seamless export’




AS part of measures to facilitate export activities, the Federal Government and private investors should put in place adequate ports infrastructure, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Habib Abdullahi has said.

Speaking at the maiden edition of International Sea trade and Investment Convention (ISIC) in Lagos, Abdullahi explained that NPA on its part would encourage any effort designed to change trade orientation of the nation from import dependent to export.

Represented by General Manager (Capital Project), Rufai Mohammed, an engineer, Abdullahi explained that for a seaport to be competitive, it must have a robust infrastructural base amongst other requirements.

He said: “The organisation is being positioned to properly meet the demand of all categories of port users for both imports and exports”.

A statement issued by NPA’s General Manager (Public Affairs), Capt Ihenacho Ebubeogu quoted Abdullahi as saying NPA was consolidating on the gains of port reform by facilitating and synergizing the activities of the private terminal operators, Shipping Lines, Freight Forwarders and other stakeholders, “as well as improving the existing port infrastructure”.

The Managing Director who enumerated a number of completed and on-going capital projects embarked upon by the Authority explained that the projects were meant to add efficiency to the nation’s seaports as well as to make the system competitive, effective and user friendly.

Abdullahi said: “Sustained efforts at providing the enabling port infrastructure has impacted on the overall port operational efficiency”.

Declaring the two-day event open, former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar challenged African countries to put in place adequate transport and logistics infrastructure as part of measure to boost export.
Abdulsalami said Africans should move from the mindset of thinking only about Europe, Asia, the America whenever export trade is discussed.

He said Africa is experiencing “exponential growth in economy and in population”, adding that the development translates to market.
According to Abubakar, to facilitate export trade on a continental basis, there is need to adopt and implement policy of intra Africa and inter-regional trade amongst Africa countries.

He said every Africa country should tailor its domestic policies towards global goal, pointing out that Transport linkages between Africa countries require deliberate effort.

Abdulsalami said: “For instance, as countries invest in and improve their transport infrastructure, we should deliberately invest only in infrastructure that is interoperable with that of the neighbouring country.

“For example, type of rail gauges should be uniform to facilitate trade with neighbouring states. Countries should implement regulations that reduces bureaucracy and obstacles to trade between Africa countries”, said Abdulsalami.

In his welcome remark, the chairman of the convention and former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi urged Nigerians to take advantage of the recent restriction of 41 items to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, urged participants to take advantage of numerous export opportunities available in Nigeria.

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