World Bank Endorse Nigerian Ports, Partners Navy On Capacity Building
*NPA MD Task Bollore On Eastern Ports
*Partners Navy On Capacity Building
The World Bank has adjudged the port concession model adopted by the Federal Government and rolled out in 2006, as the best in Africa.
This declaration was made by a team of experts from the World Bank Nigeria office which visited the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA in Lagos.
Elated by the development during his meeting with the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) officials, Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, stated that the port concession exercise has clearly enhanced Nigeria’s goal of becoming the leading blue economy in Africa, adding that his administration’s focus is to facilitate a port-led industrialization in the country through infrastructural renewal and deployment of modern technology tools.
Bello Koko told the delegation from the World Bank Nigeria Office led by Olatunji Ahmed and Christian Mulamula, Principal Investment Officer – Infrastructure (IFC), that the Authority duly appreciates the excellent support provided by the World Bank under its private participation in infrastructure (PPI) scheme, “we at NPA fully appreciate that efficient port operations will enable our government and businesses provide services that are affordable and sustainable, leading to reduced poverty and inequality.
He urged the Bank to sustain the support and synergy especially now that the Authority is in search of alternative funding sources to bridge its infrastructure gaps. “We look forward to better collaboration with the Bank in the development of mega/deep-sea ports across the country with world class facilities, high quality and efficient operating system, like the Lekki Deep Seaport is now our priority”, he said
The NPA MD further stated that “With the quality of attention being paid by the Federal Government to port infrastructure renewal, we are very confident that moving goods to and from Nigerian ports would soon be top of the range, cost efficient and comparable with the leading ports of the world. We have made remarkable progress tackling the intractable traffic gridlock on the port access roads with the deployment of an electronic call-up system for trucks, called “Eto”. There is room for improvement, the Apapa axis is good but on the Tin-Can axis we’re calling for a quick fix before the rains”.
The NPA MD informed the World Bank team that the 25 Year Port Master-plan which had earlier suffered some glitches is now back on course, stressing that the Authority will work collaboratively with the Bank in the operationalization of the port master-plan.
In his remarks, Ahmed, a Senior Transport Specialist with the Bank, assured his host that the World Bank Group would continue to partner Nigeria and other interested countries to develop transport infrastructure and services that are safe, green, efficient and inclusive.
He stated that the Bank is happy to partner with the Authority over the years and intends to continue to provide the assistance to the Authority in the journey towards becoming the preferred destination of cargo in Africa.
The World Bank and IFC delegation expressed both organizations willingness to work with NPA in the improvement of port infrastructure under a public private partnership arrangement between the Authority and other third parties. They equally requested for a project tracker report on the actions and milestones recorded in the port concession programme so far.
Ahmed also informed his host that his Office would assist the Authority in its review of the concession agreements with terminal operators: including governance; pricing; operations; transit/exit from the port; traffic management and other key issues, as outlined in the concession framework.
Mulamula disclosed that the IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), is set to make an investment in the Lekki Deep Seaport, just as it is willing to support the Terminal Operators upgrade their facilities and equipment. He further said that the IFC plans to invest funds for the rehabilitation of the Tin-Can Island Port as a private participation in infrastructure (PPI) project.
In a related development, the NPA MD along with members of the Management team met with the officials of Bollore Transport and Logistics Nigeria (formerly SDV Nigeria) led by its Managing Director, Folashade Akanni-Shelle.
The delegation from Bollore spoke about their company’s desire to expand its logistics facilities across the country, to boost its market share and service offerings in areas like customs releases, warehousing and door-to-door delivery to clients.
Akanni-Shelle explained that her organization remains a major operator in transport and logistics across the continent, “we hope to sustain the cordial business relations we have established with the NPA for the benefit of the Nigerian economy”, she said.
Bello Koko assured Bollore of the Authority’s commitment to work closely with all its local and international partners. He charged Bollore to identify likely locations suitable to set up such logistics bases, in particular at the Eastern Ports where such facilities are currently less available.
To Collaborate With Navy On Hydrography
Also, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority says his administration is ready to work collaboratively with the Nigerian Navy to modernize training and capacity building aspect of hydrographic survey, for the benefit of the nation’s maritime economy.
Speaking when he received the new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Y. B. Wambai, along with senior officers of the Command, on a courtesy visit to the Authority’s corporate headquarters, Lagos, Bello Koko assured the new FOC West of the NPA’s unflinching co-operation in the task of protecting the nations’ waterways against inland and coastal threats to safe navigation. The NPA will continue to render the required assistance whenever the need arose, he assured.
The NPA MD expressed his Management’s appreciation for the role played by the Command with respect to the “360 Degrees Security Exercise” that was recently carried out to remove all physical contraptions and unscrupulous human elements identified as security threat around the seaports in Lagos. He informed the FOC that a repeat of the exercise is set to take place in the nearest future, adding that NPA would continue to work jointly with the Command in keeping the port access corridors safe from all types of threats.
Bello Koko applauded the Nigerian Navy on the delivery and commissioning of “NNS LANA”, a modern purpose-built hydrographic research vessel, that would enable the NN perform missions such as oceanographic survey, hydrographic survey, search and rescue (SAR), fishery survey and patrol in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Nigeria. He also commended the Navy for quality manpower development in hydrographic survey for the country.
While lamenting the dearth of qualified hydrographers in the NPA, he expressed optimism that partnering with the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School would guarantee high level manpower at a lower cost for the Authority, rather than send staff abroad for such training.
Responding to the request for tug boats to support the NN in some of their operations, Koko explained that available options would be considered to assist the Navy, although the NPA currently faces some constraints arising from its contractual relations with a third party service provider.
On the issue of wrecks preventing access to the Defence Jetty along the Lagos Marina, Koko assured the FOC that the Authority would liaise with the Nigerian Maritime Administration (NIMASA) for support to get the wrecks removed, just as the NPA would continue to facilitate berthing spaces for vessels arrested by order of the Court.
Earlier in his remarks, the new FOC West described the courtesy visit to the NPA as customary and necessary to advance the strong bonds of partnership between the two institutions. He expressed on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff, deep appreciation to the NPA, for the tremendous support provided the NN over the years in its quest to effectively safeguard the country’s territorial waters.
Rear Admiral Wambai informed his host that the quality support enjoyed by the NN from organizations like the NPA in the promotion of safety and security within the Nigerian waters led to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recent declaration of Nigeria as a Piracy Free Country, following no record of incidents at the nation’s port anchorage.
He equally thanked the Authority for making available a land area at Takwa Bay for the Command’s operations. The support provided by the NPA under the Bello-Koko led Management is worthy of emulation, he enthused.