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$800m rehabilitation funds for Nigerian ports almost ready – FG

“I can tell you that the fund for the port rehabilitation is almost ready, and we are going to commence rehabilitation anytime from now”

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The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, has said that the rehabilitation of the nation’s ports will commence soon.

He revealed that the $800 million needed for rehabilitation is almost ready.

Oyetola spoke at the inauguration of seven patrol boats by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday.

According to him, the new boats are expected to improve efficiency at Nigerian ports.

He commended the management of the NPA for the initiative to strengthen safety in the maritime space.

“Security is very important, and we need to give it the kind of attention it deserves. We cannot be talking about trying to reach the full potential of the blue economy without strengthening the security aspect of our ports.

“I am delighted to be here and very much believe we are going to have more of these boats.

“It is deliberate on the part of Mr. President to have created the Marine and Blue Economy ministry. The blue economy had always been there, but not as structured as to generate the kind of revenue a maritime nation like Nigeria should be earning.

“So part of what we are trying to do is first ensure maritime security. Secondly, we will be talking about the automation of the ports to make them more efficient. Just two weeks ago, I received the report from the consultant for the Port Community System. Part of that is to drive efficiency at our ports.

“Again, we are modernising the ports. We want to be able to compete with any port in the world. We want to ensure that the vessel turnaround time is reduced to four days as opposed to the six to 10 days that we currently have.

“We must commend Mr. President for taking the initiative to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and for supporting us all the way.

“I can tell you that the fund for the Port rehabilitation is almost ready, and we are going to commence rehabilitation anytime from now.”

The Managing Director/CEO of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, said in his remarks that the NPA is intentional in transforming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable port services in Africa, which signifies a major shift from “potential to actualities.”

He said: “Enhanced Maritime Safety, Security, and Compliance to globally acceptable standards” is one of the Nigerian Port Authority’s deliverables under the Presidential Priorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“What we are witnessing today, therefore, is pursuant to achieving these deliverables and aligns with the presidential directives regarding the performance of MDAs.

“In addition to positioning us to fulfil the fundamental requirement of security, which constitutes a critical success factor in fulfiling two crucial aspects of our post-concession statutory mandates of regulating maritime business, promoting port security and safe haven for ships, and safeguarding and securing assets of the Authority while maintaining their optimal use.

“The deployment of these state-of-the-art security patrol boats takes us a notch higher in our compliance with the dictates of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code of the International Maritime Organisation.

“I therefore want to, on behalf of the management and staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority, commend and appreciate our amiable Minister for his tireless endorsement of our efforts at enhancing the competitiveness of our ports.

“Our profound appreciation also goes to our highly valued security partners; the Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army, the DSS, and the Lagos State Government, whose collaborations continue to enhance our ability to detect, deter, and respond to security threats and incidents before they fester.

“A highly skilled team from our Security and Marine Operations Divisions and the Vessel Management Department conducted a thorough needs assessment process prior to the purchase of the seven security patrol boats we are commissioning today.

“They were meticulous and followed through with the product output specification, including necessary sea trials. I would like to take this opportunity to commend them for their professionalism and commitment to duty.

“The distinctive features and multiple functionalities of these marine crafts and the game-changing effect they bring to bear on our security preparedness and capacity to respond to emergent threats are enormous. I have chosen to refrain from mentioning those superlatives here because of the security implications of doing so.”

Bello-Koko also said:”However, I am especially delighted to say that these security patrol boats position us to achieve our set goal of driving increased vessel traffic to the Eastern Ports of Onne, Rivers, Warri, and Calabar Port Complexes, where four of the vessels to be commissioned today have been allocated.

“Although Onne Port has recently witnessed increased vessel traffic, we cannot rest on our laurels. We will continue to push advocacy and galvanise stakeholder opinion towards growing the fortunes of the Eastern Ports.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, before I take my seat, I will like to appreciate the goodwill of all stakeholders here present and to assure you of our commitment to continuous improvement. I thank you very much for your time, and God bless.“

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