Shipping operations:Nigeria, Republic of Cote D’Ivoire to strengthen trade relations

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  • As NPA boss harps on technology transfer
  • (By Udeme Clement)

Apparently, the Maritime sector is poised for greater productivity, as Nigeria and Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, a neighbouring country within the West African sub-region are holding discussions on the urgent need
to strengthen their trade relations.

Our Correspondent gathered that both countries want to strengthen their maritime trade relations through port and shipping operations.

This becomes imperative for both countries to participate fully in global and regional trades, in order to achieve greater economic growth and development.

To enhance such trade relations for optimum economic prosperity, the Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, harps on information sharing, capacity building, as well as technology transfer between both countries.

The NPA boss made these assertions when officials from Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, paid him a working visit.

He informed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has done a lot in the area of reforms geared towards facilitating cross-border trade. For instance, putting in place a multimodal port system, to reduce the cost of shipments within and out of Nigeria.

Speaking further, the NPA MD mentioned proactive steps taken by the Authority in giving priority to non-oil export trade, in line with the fiscal policies of Federal Government on economic diversification.

He added: “The Nigerian government is establishing export processing terminals to take advantage of opportunities under African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

“This administration is equally investing tangibly in major public infrastructure upgrades, to fast track economic diversification initiative. These include modern rail lines and deep seaports to enhance international competitiveness of the country’s trade position as gateway to African economy.”.

Mr Bello-Koko, explained that the Lekki Deep Seaport, is capable of handling ultra large cargo vessels (ULCV), adding that the port will begin operations by second quarter of 2022 fiscal year.

He assured officials of Cote d’Ivoire on the readiness of NPA to address tariff barriers and restrictions on trade between both countries, even as he sought the support of Cote d’Ivoire for the Nigerian candidate emerging as the next Secretary General of Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA). This, he said, is vital considering Nigeria’s status as a founding member and major financial contributor to the organisation.

In his remarks, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria, His Excellency, Traore Kalilou, described the bilateral relations between both countries as strategic. He emphasised the need to review existing agreements before the end of 2021.

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