• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

World Bank Group expresses investment interest in Lekki, Tin-Can Ports

NPA: We haven’t increased tariff in 30 years

The World Bank Group has expressed willingness to work with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in the development of port infrastructure under public private partnership arrangement.

A delegation from the World Bank Nigeria Office led by Olatunji Ahmed and Christian Mulamula, Principal Investment Officer – International Finance Corporation (IFC), who visited the NPA head office on Thursday, also commended Nigeria’s port concession model, which they described as a model in Africa.

Christian Mulamula disclosed that the IFC is willing to invest in the Lekki Deep Seaport, and to support the terminal operators to upgrade their facilities as well as 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.

On his part, Olatunji Ahmed, a senior transport specialist with the World Bank, assured the NPA that the World Bank Group would continue to partner Nigeria and other interested countries to develop transport infrastructure and other services that are safe, green, efficient and inclusive.

He said that the Bank was happy to partner with the Authority and intends to continue to help the NPA in its journey to becoming the preferred destination of cargo in Africa.

Ahmed also promised to assist the NPA in review of concession agreements with terminal operators particularly in area such as governance; pricing; operations; transit/exit from the port; traffic management and other key issues, as outlined in the concession framework.

Responding, Mohammed Bello Koko, managing director of the NPA, said the port concession exercise has clearly enhanced Nigeria’s goal of becoming the leading blue economy in Africa.

He said his administration focuses on facilitating port-led industrialisation in the country through infrastructural renewal and deployment of modern technology tools.

Bello-Koko further said the Authority duly appreciates the excellent support provided by the World Bank under its private participation in infrastructure (PPI) scheme.

“We at NPA fully appreciates the fact that efficient port operations will enable our government and businesses provide services that are affordable and sustainable, leading to reduced poverty and inequality,” he said.

Read also: NPA commits to fight corruption for quick cargo clearance at ports

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 more mega or deep seaports across the country with world class facilities, high quality and efficient operating system, like the Lekki Deep Seaport is now our priority”, he declared.

Continuing, he said: “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,” he said.

The NPA boss told the World Bank team that the 25 year Port Master-plan which had earlier suffered some hitches, is now back on course, stressing that the Authority will work with the Bank in the operationalisation of the port master-plan.