The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, has called for more synergy among the agencies of government towards achieving efficient port management and diversification of the nation’s economy through seamless exports.
In realization of the government’s trade facilitation in the industry, Bello-Koko disclosed that 10 export processing terminals have been established at the Lagos ports.
Speaking as a panelist on Wednesday in Lagos at a hybrid 2022 Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar on non-oil export, the NPA boss said in addition, the trucks call up system (ETO) was deployed to rid the ports of congestion and promote ease of doing business by players in the sector.
Persecondnews which participated in the Zoom reports that Africa’s richest man and Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith bank, a senior Customs official, exporters and MDs of banks and exporters featured at the seminar.
Bello-Koko noted that there is less space at the ports built in the 1960s and 70s, adding that traffic and population had increased over time exponentially not commensurate to their sizes.
“For instance, Tin Can Port was built in the 1970s while Apapa was expanded in the 1060s. Since then traffic, population has increased with the huge population importing and exporting.
“So there is less space inside the ports. There must be synergy by the agencies of government to ensure the realization of government’s policy of diversification of the economy through exports.
“The trucks call up system (ETO) was introduced to facilitate the movement of trucks which was formerly manual but now digitized. We handle about 40, 000 or 45, 000 trucks daily, so it is a big traffic and busy ports.
“In addition, 10 export processing terminals were established by the NPA. To succeed in this, we need other agencies of government.
Nigeria Customs, SON and others carrying out certification should be at the terminals and that is now reducing traffic,’’ Persecondnews quotes Bello-Koko as saying at the forum.
The NPA CEO, however, expressed the optimism that greater efficiency will be achieved at the ports when the Lekki Port starts operation in September this year while Bonny Port and Badagry Port have already been approved.
On complaints of multiplicity of charges at the ports, Bello-Koko disclosed that NPA increased its tariff last in 1993, pointing out that other companies have been increasing their charges.
“We have told the Shipping lines that they should not just wake up and increase tariff to frustrate the ease of doing business.
On decongesting the ports, he said a dedicated lane had been created for trucks going to the ports, adding “we will work with the exporters to see how it will work.’’
“For export and import, we will reduce the time of taking containers into the ports or out of the ports.
The Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr Olukayode Pitan, disclosed that the bank had been assisting small, medium and big enterprises with the disbursement of N1.3 trillion in the last seven years.
Mr Olusegun Awolowo, the immediate past Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council and grandson of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said about $30 billion was being targeted by the government from non-oil sector by 2025.
He disclosed that Nigeria’s GDP of $511 billion is higher than Dubai’s $501 billion and South Africa’s $426 billion as a global economy.