The Acting Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, has said that seaports in the country are being repositioned as efficient and reliable gateways to optimise Nigeria’s trade interconnectivity with other countries under African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The NPA boss stressed that this is in acknowledgement of the fact that the maritime sector provides safe passage for about 80 percent of Africa’s trade.
Mr. Bello-Koko, made this declaration in his goodwill message, at the maiden edition of Nigerian International Maritime Summit (NIMS), in Lagos.
Speaking through the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Hon.Onari Brown, the NPA boss disclosed that the Authority having keyed into the Federal Government’s agenda to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade, has prioritised expansion and improvement of port infrastructure.
He said, such infrastructure include ICT and security systems, in order to significantly bring down transportation costs of Nigeria’s trade within the continent and globally.
He informed :
“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.
“Promotion of 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 on-going aggressive efforts at attaining seamless port hinterland connectivity through multi-modalism”.
The NPA helmsman commended organisers 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 unwavering commitment of NPA Management under his watch to effectively address all identified bottlenecks in port operations and harness the opportunities AfCFTA avails especially in the area of non-oil export trade.