The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko has assured that the agency is giving priority to non-oil exports. He said to ensure this, export processing terminals are being established.
He told a delegation from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire who paid him a courtesy visit at the NPA corporate headquarters in Marina, Lagos, that these were being done to take advantage of opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Bello-Koko told the delegation which was led by the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria, H.E. Traore Kalilou that there was need for the government and Ivorian businesses to increase their share of trade with Nigeria.
Bello-Koko assured the delegation that the NPA will do all that is required to address non-tariff barriers and restrictions to trade between the two sister countries. He added that there is room for information sharing, just as both countries need to cooperate more in the areas of joint training of staff and technology transfer.
The NPA boss also stated that Nigeria is ready to nurture the country’s economic relations with the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, most especially in the areas of port and shipping operations, in order to strengthen the capacities of both countries to participate competitively in global and regional trade.
He also told the delegation that the Nigerian Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has introduced far-reaching reforms to facilitate cross border trade, particularly nurturing a multimodal port system to reduce the cost of shipments in and out of the country.
The Buhari administration has also invested heavily in major public infrastructure upgrades, including construction of modern rail lines and deep seaports, to boost the international competitiveness of the country’s trade as well as positioned Nigeria as gateway to the African economy, he said.
He informed the delegation that one of the greenfield ports, the Lekki Deep Seaport which is capable of handling ultra large cargo vessels, is scheduled to commence business by the second quarter of 2022.
The NPA MD also solicited the support of Republic of Cote d’Ivoire towards Nigeria’s candidate emerging as the next Secretary General of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), considering the country’s status as a founding member and a major financial contributor.
In his address, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria, H.E. Traore Kalilou described the bilateral relations between the countries as strategic, and that he looks forward to a review of existing agreements before the end of the year. He commended the NPA Management on its value adding interventions, which has raised the performance of the country’s supply chain.
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