The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is repositioning the country’s ports into an efficient and reliable gateway that would optimize Nigeria’s trade connectivity with other countries under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this in his goodwill message at the maiden edition of the Nigerian International Maritime Summit (NIMS) held in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.
He said that the agency took this decision in the acknowledgment that the maritime sector provides safe passage for about 80% of Africa’s trade.
Speaking through the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Hon.
Onari Brown, Bello-Koko said the NPA has keyed into the Federal Government’s agenda to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.
He said the NPA has prioritized the expansion and improvement of port infrastructure, including ICT and security systems, in order to significantly bring down transportation costs of Nigeria’s trade within the continent and globally.
“Given the urgency with which the new vistas of opportunity of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement beckons, the Authority is eager for actionable ideas and synergistic partnerships that the summit promises to deliver.
“The promotion of the African Union agenda of well-interconnected and integrated networks of transport infrastructure to boost opening of markets and increase intra-regional trade, will serve to complement our ongoing aggressive efforts at attaining seamless port hinterland connectivity through multi-modalism,” he said.
The NPA helmsman commended the organizers of the summit for taking steps to promote Nigeria as a centre of maritime excellence in the region.
He assured industry stakeholders and port users of the unwavering commitment of the management of Nigerian Ports Authority under his watch to effectively address all the identified bottlenecks in port operations and harness the opportunities, which the AfCFTA avails, especially in the area of non-oil export trade.
AfCFTA: Nigerian Ports Authority moves to boost Intra-African trade