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Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Delta Ports Collapsing, NPA MD Laments

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Abiola Seun

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), yesterday, raised the alarm that the Tin-Can Island ports, Lagos; Onne port, Port-Harcourt; Delta and Calabar ports quay walls are collapsing and needed urgent attention to forestall total collapse.

In a press statement by the General Manager, corporate and strategic communications, Olaseni Alakija and a copy made available to newsmen, he said the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the authority needed huge fund to repair the collapsing quay walls.

The acting MD who stated this during the first retreat for the reconstituted board of directors of the authority, themed “Expanding the Frontiers of Service Excellence,” said the authority has opened correspondences with multilateral financial institutions for long term low interest loans for port infrastructure upgrades and expansion.

According to Bello-Koko, Nigeria with a rich aquatic endowments and her border with landlocked nations make the development of her deep seaports necessary and a huge potential revenue earner for the nation.

He said, “Nigeria accounts for about 70 percent of cargoes imported into West and Central Africa and the country controls an impressive stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria’s rich aquatic endowments and her border with landlocked nations make the development of deep seaports a huge potential revenue earner for the nation.

“We are facing decaying port infrastructure, for example, sections of the quay aprons or walls at Tin Can Island Port, Onne, Delta, and Calabar ports are collapsing and require huge funds to repair them. With the increasing pressure to remit more revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the federation, it has become very difficult to have sufficient funds to attend to these decaying facilities, hence the need to explore alternative funding sources outside the traditional port service offerings,” he stated.

“The management has opened correspondences with some multilateral financial institutions like the French Development Agency (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), and Sanlam Infraworks (a Central Bank of Nigeria approved fund manager for InfraCorp), all part of plans to access long term low-interest credit, for port infrastructure upgrades and expansion.”

The acting NPA Boss informed the board that recent interventions made by the Authority have led to significant improvement in terms of ship and cargo dwell time at the port.

He said, “some of the benchmarks yet to be achieve are dependent on externalities and variables that require concerted inter-agency actions, which the authority, despite dogged efforts is yet to optimally achieve owing to systemic administrative constraints and red-tapism, including conflicting directives from the agencies operating within the port value chain and reporting to different supervising ministries with jurisdictional overlaps and duplication of functions,” he stressed.

He further informed the Board that concerted efforts are being made to expand the revenue streams of the Authority, in addition to revenue from traditional port operations.
“unlike the practice in our sister francophone countries where government funds dredging of ports, we are responsible for funding ours which put a lot of strain on our resources and capacity to invest in critical port infrastructure.

The NPA acting Managing Director disclosed that the authority’s management has begun to explore smart ways to boost the revenue performance of the organization with prime real estate which could serve as alternative funding sources outside the regular budget.

“NPA has a lot of high value landed properties in Onne, Snake Island, and Takwa Bay that are designated free trade zones and mostly allocated but with poor arterial road network and other infrastructure to make them attractive for private investments which would bring good revenue to the authority and federal government.

Management will need the support of the board to drive the process of alternative revenue sources to actualize the lofty aspirations of the authority.

Bello-Koko also touched on efforts by the management to make Nigerian seaports more business-friendly.
In his words, “we have been able to deploy technology to address the perennial traffic gridlock that has been frustrating the conduct of business around the Lagos ports corridor.

“A software application code-named “eto” is gradually restoring sanity to trucking business despite the initial teething problems and resistance by vested interests hitherto profiting from the chaos.:

“The authority has accredited 33 private truck terminals within the Lagos area, in addition to the Lilypond Truck Transit Park and Tin Can Island Port Truck Transit Park, to ensure trucks do not park indiscriminately on the access roads and would only be allowed to transit to the port after obtaining electronic tickets via the “eto” call-up platform,” he stressed.

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