The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Saturday lamented the various challenges bedevilling Nigerian Ports as it carried out its economic outlook of the country for the year 2020.
Amine Mati, Senior Resident Representative Mission chief to Nigeria who led a delegation of the Fund to Nigerian Shippers’ Council, said the visit was meant to find out what has happened between last year and this year and the challenges facing the sector.
Speaking with journalists after visits to three terminals including APMT, GDNL and PTML, he stated that the port is still marred with several challenges according to the information he gathered from the operators ranging from lack of good roads, lack of scanners in the port, national window among other challenges.
He said, “As part of our work, we are meeting all stakeholders trying to find out what has happened.
“We are trying to find out what has happened to Apapa port. Logistics is very important so we are trying to find what is happening not only by meeting you but by going to the field and see the ports and see the challenges with our own eyes.
“We came to see what are the port activities, what are the challenges, what are the priorities and policies that have been put in place particularly scanners, customs Windows, national windows that will be needed to try and accelerate process.
“And we also looked at roads because as trade picks up, and port is part of important economic activity of Nigeria.
“There are challenges as the port authority themselves and different operators recognise it and some of the priorities told us was about Logistics, the roads, the scanners, the single window, having the Customs clearance system and also outside the port, the infrastructure has to be there,” he said.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary of tbe Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, said that the review of the outlook was important especially as Nigeria is facing challenge of diversification of the economy.
Bello who admitted that the port is yet to be efficient, added that the government is making efforts to forestall all the challenges.
According the Council boss, efforts are on to link the port with rail as well as that the port roads are under construction.
“We are visiting three terminals. There is container terminal which is the APMT, we have RoRo terminal and also multipurpose terminal which is the Greenview Development Nigeria Limited.
“Your review of the economic outlook is very important in Nigeria especially now that Nigeria is facing economic challenge for diversification for source of revenue.
“It is important that the economy of transport be given attention. Nigeria is at the centre of West and Central Africa, it is the largest economy in Africa and Nigerian Port attracts sixty percent of the cargo in the sub-region.
“So the mandate of Shippers Council is cut out for it to make the port more efficient because we are in competition with the ports in the region we want to attract cargo because we want Nigeria to be the hub.
“Of course there are constraints and these constraints are that we lack much efficiency in the port because the ports are private driven having been concessioned about ten to twelve years ago to private sector because we believe private sector should lead in the sector.
“However there are logistics problems one of which is infrastructure. Certainly the road to the port is a challenge and the government is now constructing the roads leading to the port.
“Besides, the government is also introducing the rail system into the port because the problem is using only one mode of transport.”
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