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FG determined to upgrade country’s ports – Oyetola

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Lagos, Nigeria: entrance to the RoRo port - Nigerian Ports Authority - photo by A.Bartel

By Tayo AFOLABI

 

The Federal Government is determined to upgrade of the country’s ports to be more competitive.

The Minister for Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, made this known during a visit to APM Terminals in Lagos.

He added however, that the process of shopping for the appropriate financing model is delaying the execution of the projects, estimated at about $800m.

He said: “We have resolved to modernise the ports, we are only looking at funding strategies.

“We have resolved to increase the drought level of the Apapa and Tincan ports from the current 13.5 to 16.5 percent to allow bigger vessels to berth so that we can reverse the current trend that is making other ports more attractive than ours.

“We are excited about this potential investment. We will be glad to have the specifics soonest so that we can know the areas you want to invest in. I can assure you; you have a partner in us,” he said.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) led by its Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, reportedly met with officials of Citibank on funding options for the rehabilitation of Apapa and Tin-Can Ports during the week.

Bello-Koko said that the meeting with Citibank is a follow-up meeting with other global reference lenders towards looking at different options for financing port modernisation programmes.

The NPA boss, had on his X handle, said the meeting was a follow-up, as they have met with other global reference lenders.

He said: “My team and I met with the Managing Director and Global Head of Export and Agency Finance of Citibank, Mr. Richard Hodder, to discuss low-cost financing for Tin-Can and Apapa Port modernisation projects.

“This was a follow-up meeting with other global reference lenders. We will continue to weigh different options for financing the port modernisation programme to revamp our port infrastructure and superstructures for competitive advantage in the region.”

Recall that the NPA MD last year said that it will cost the agency $800m to rehabilitate the dilapidated port infrastructure at the Apapa, Tin-Can, Calabar, and Onne Ports.

The NPA boss had said that the $800m, which is expected to come in as a loan facility, will be repayable in a seven-year period.

Similarly, during a meeting with the minister, the Global Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of APM Terminals, Keith Svendsen expressed the company’s readiness to invest over $500m in Apapa port to make it one of the biggest in Africa.

Svendsen noted that in the last one year, the Onne port has been doing better that the Durban ports, adding that at the moment, the turnaround time in Onne had been reduced by 65 percent.

 

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