NPA will reposition Nigerian ports to benefit from AfCFTA – Bello-Koko

All seaports in Nigeria are being repositioned to become efficient and reliable gateways that will enable Nigeria’s benefit from trade interconnectivity with other countries under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Mohammed Bello-Koko, acting managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Bello-Koko, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Nigerian International Maritime Summit (NIMS) which was held recently in Lagos, said that the maritime sector vis-à-vis the port provides safe passage for about 80 percent of Africa’s trade.

Represented by Onari Brown, executive director, Marine and Operations, the NPA boss disclosed that the Authority has keyed into the Federal Government’s agenda to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade, has prioritised the expansion and improvement of port infrastructure, including ICT and security systems, to significantly bring down transportation costs of Nigeria’s trade within the continent and globally.

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“Given the urgency with which the new vistas of opportunity of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement beckons, the Authority is eager for actionable ideas and synergistic partnerships that the summit promises to deliver,” he said.

Continuing, he explains: “The promotion of the African Union agenda of well-connected and integrated networks of transport infrastructure in order to boost opening of markets and increase intra-regional trade. This will complement our ongoing aggressive efforts at attaining seamless port hinterland connectivity through multi-modalism”.

Bello-Koko commended the organisers of the summit for taking steps to promote Nigeria as a center of maritime excellence in the region.

He assured port users of the unwavering commitment of the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority under his watch to effectively address all the identified bottlenecks in port operations and harness the opportunities AfCFTA avails especially in the area of non-oil export trade.

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