NIGERIAâ€™S PORT CONCESSION MODEL BEST IN AFRICA â€“ WORLD BANK TEAM
â€¦25YR PORT MASTERPLAN BACK ON TRACK â€“ MD, NPA
The port concession model of the Federal Government that was rolled out in 2006, has been adjudged the best in Africa, so says a team of experts from the World Bank Nigeria Office on a working visit to the Nigerian Ports Authorityâ€™s head-office, on Thursday.
Reacting to the Bankâ€™s positive assessment during his meeting with World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) officials, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello Koko, stated that the port concession exercise has clearly enhanced Nigeriaâ€™s goal of becoming the leading blue economy in Africa, adding that his administrationâ€™s focus is to facilitate a port-led industrialization in the country through infrastructural renewal and deployment of modern technology tools.
The NPA helmsman told the delegation from the World Bank Nigeria Office led by Olatunji Ahmed and Christian Mulamula, Principal Investment Officer – Infrastructure (IFC), that the Authority duly appreciates the excellent support provided by the World Bank under its private participation in infrastructure (PPI) scheme, â€œwe at NPA fully appreciate that efficient port operations will enable our government and businesses provide services that are affordable and sustainable, leading to reduced poverty and inequality.
He urged the Bank to sustain the support and synergy especially now that the Authority is in search of alternative funding sources to bridge its infrastructure gaps. â€œWe look forward to better collaboration with the Bank in the development of more mega or deep-sea ports across the country with world class facilities, high quality and efficient operating system, like the Lekki Deep Seaport is now our priorityâ€, he declared.
Speaking further, â€œwith the quality of attention being paid by the Federal Government to port infrastructure renewal, we are very confident that moving goods to and from Nigerian ports would soon be top of the range, cost efficient and comparable with the leading ports of the world. We have made remarkable progress tackling the intractable traffic gridlock on the port access roads with the deployment of an electronic call-up system for trucks, called â€œEtoâ€. There is room for improvement, the Apapa axis is good but on the Tin-Can axis weâ€™re calling for a quick fix before the rainsâ€, he appealed.
The NPA MD informed the World Bank team that the 25 Year Port Master-plan which had earlier suffered some glitches is now back on course, stressing that the Authority will work collaboratively with the Bank in the operationalization of the port master-plan.
Earlier in his remarks, Ahmed, a Senior Transport Specialist with the Bank, assured his host that the World Bank Group would continue to partner Nigeria and other interested countries to develop transport infrastructure and services that are safe, green, efficient and inclusive. He stated that the Bank is happy to partner with the Authority over the years and intends to continue to provide the assistance to the Authority in the journey towards becoming the preferred destination of cargo in Africa.
The World Bank and IFC delegation expressed both organizations willingness to work with NPA in the improvement of port infrastructure under a public private partnership arrangement between the Authority and other third parties. They equally requested for a project tracker report on the actions and milestones recorded in the port concession programme so far.
Ahmed also informed his host that his Office would assist the Authority in its review of the concession agreements with terminal operators: including governance; pricing; operations; transit/exit from the port; traffic management and other key issues, as outlined in the concession framework.
Mulamula disclosed that the IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), is set to make an investment in the Lekki Deep Seaport, just as it is willing to support the Terminal Operators upgrade their facilities and equipment. He further said that the IFC plans to invest funds for the rehabilitation of the Tin-Can Island Port as a private participation in infrastructure (PPI) project.
In a related development, the NPA MD along with members of the Management team met with the officials of Bollore Transport and Logistics Nigeria (formerly SDV Nigeria) led by its Managing Director, Folashade Akanni-Shelle.
The delegation from Bollore spoke about their companyâ€™s desire to expand its logistics facilities across the country, to boost its market share and service offerings in areas like customs releases, warehousing and door-to-door delivery to clients.
Akanni-Shelle explained that her organization remains a major operator in transport and logistics across the continent, â€œwe hope to sustain the cordial business relations we have established with the NPA for the benefit of the Nigerian economyâ€, she said.
Bello Koko assured Bollore of the Authorityâ€™s commitment to work closely with all its local and international partners. He charged Bollore to identify likely locations suitable to set up such logistics bases, in particular at the Eastern Ports where such facilities are currently less available.
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