Ports Tin-Can, Onne, Delta, Calabar collapse, NPA sounds the alarm

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Acting Director General Mohammed Bello-Koko has sounded the alarm that the ports of Tin-Can Island, Onne, Delta and Calabar are currently collapsing and in need of funds huge to repair them.

In a statement released on Sunday by NPA’s Director General, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Olaseni Alakija, the Acting Director General said during the first retreat of the Authority’s reconstituted board of directors, which was themed “Expanding the frontiers of Excellence service”.

Quoting the acting director general of the NPA in the statement, “Nigeria accounts for about 70 percent of the cargoes imported into West and Central Africa and the country controls an impressive expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria’s rich aquatic endowments and its border with landlocked countries make the development of deep-water ports a huge potential source of revenue for the nation.

“The approach to achieving hub status in the region is in line with our new vision statement which was adopted at the recent NPA leadership retreat:“ To be the maritime logistics hub for a system sustainable port in Africa ”.

While describing the retirement of the board of directors as very timely, he said it marks a unity of purpose and a shared vision, where the executive leadership working closely with each section, unit, department, division and management , adopts an overall strategic outcome for the Authority with the requisite adhesion of the Council.

“By way of appreciation, I would like to seek the understanding of the board of directors regarding the limits of senior management in achieving some of our goals and objectives, which I am sure the distinguished members of the board directors must have noticed during the visit to the ports which preceded this retreat, ”added Mohammed Bello-Koko.

The acting boss of the NPA informed the Council that the Authority’s recent interventions have led to a significant improvement in terms of the dwell time of ships and cargoes in port. However, he explained that “some of the benchmarks that we have yet to reach depend on externalities and variables that require concerted inter-agency actions, which the Authority, despite strenuous efforts, has not yet reached optimally due to Systemic administrative constraints and tapism, including conflicting guidelines from agencies operating within the port value chain and reporting to different line ministries with jurisdictional overlaps and duplication of functions, ”he stressed.

He further informed the Council that concerted efforts are being made to increase the Authority’s sources of revenue, in addition to revenue from traditional port operations. According to him, “contrary to the practice of our French-speaking sister countries where the government finances the dredging of ports, we are responsible for financing ours, which puts a strain on our resources and our ability to invest in critical port infrastructure.

We are facing dilapidated port infrastructure, for example, sections of the decks or quaysides of the ports of Tin Can Island, Onne, Delta and Calabar are collapsing and requiring huge funds to repair them. With the increasing pressure to hand over more revenue to the Federation’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (FRC), it has become very difficult to have sufficient funds to deal with these decaying facilities, hence the need to explore alternative sources of funding outside of traditional port service offers. ” he stated.

The acting chief executive of the NPA revealed that the Authority’s leadership has started exploring smart ways to increase the organization’s revenue.

He explained that the Authority is endowed with prime real estate that could serve as alternative sources of funding outside of the regular budget. “NPA owns many high-value land holdings in Onne, Snake Island and Takwa Bay which are designated free trade zones and mostly allocated, but with poor arterial road network and other infrastructure to make them attractive to residents. private investments that would bring good income to the Authority and the federal government.

The management will need the support of the board of directors to drive the process of alternative sources of income in order to actualize the noble aspirations of the Authority, he said.

He added that management has opened correspondence with some multilateral financial institutions such as the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Sanlam Infraworks (a Fund manager approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria for InfraCorp), this is all part of the plans to access long-term credit at low interest rates, for the modernization and expansion of port infrastructure.

Bello-Koko also spoke of management’s efforts to make Nigerian seaports more user-friendly. In his words, “We have been able to deploy the technology to address the perennial traffic deadlock that has frustrated doing business around the Lagos Ports Corridor. A software application codenamed “eto” is gradually restoring the raison d’être of trucking companies despite initial start-up problems and resistance from interest groups thus far profiting from the chaos.

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

The Authority is working with the Lagos State government to ensure enforcement and compliance with the electronic appeal system, he said.

Another solution implemented is the desire to link all seaports to the national rail network and to optimize the use of inland waterways by the transfer of goods or containers via barges.

Earlier in his welcoming speech, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Emmanuel Adesoye FCA, described retirement as an opportunity for the Board of Directors and management “not only to rethink our strategies, structures and systems for efficient service delivery, but also to relax, reconnect and strengthen our bonds as team players committed to maintaining excellence, ”he noted.


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