In a bid to find other sources of revenue for the federal government following the decline in crude oil prices that plunged the Nigerian economy into a recession, the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) plans to collaborate with the United Kingdom government in the area of trade facilitation and investment.
The partnership, according to the NPA, will ensure efficient greater synergy, cooperation and technical road map for the development of the Nigerian port industry.
To this end, it said it has commenced an interface with the UK trade and investment group through the British Council who paid the executive management a working courtesy visit.
The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman said the management of the NPA was desirous of working with parties on improving the volume of cargo into the country, which has reduced significantly due to the economic downturn currently being witnessed in the country.
She said there has been a prevalence of the diversion of cargo to neighbouring African countries resulting in the loss of revenue and consequently in the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We are working assiduously with relevant security agencies at blocking these leakages arising from sharp practices within the system”, she said.
Bala Usman enlisted the support and synergy with the United Kingdom group in the areas of infrastructural development especially roads leading to the nation’s sea ports and environs.
According to her, the policy on automobiles requires reengineering in order to reap most meaningfully from it as well, noting that the port plays a significant role in the development and facilitation of trade within the Gulf of Guinea.
“We want to be able to tap into these by working with stakeholder’s home and abroad, in opening new trade routes. Government has interest in the swift evacuation of cargo especially agricultural produce and solid minerals to the North-East hinterland in view of its proximity to the Calabar Port, “she added.
In the area of trade facilitation, the MD called for technical assistance in the areas of project management as well as improving on the existing rail-lines within the terminals at the ports across the nation.
The NPA, she reaffirmed, is cooperating with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in creating more rail lines for the swift evacuation of cargo and efficient service delivery to the hinterlands.
According to her, “Over 50 per cent of cargoes from the ports need to go through the Rails in order to guide against congestion at the Ports and road access leading to them.”
She added that the NPA was deploring best IT solutions to automate port operations so as to eliminate unnecessary human interface and with the view to synergising with other stakeholders to establish a port community system.
Bala Usman said it was necessary to ensure Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) amongst others to reduce the effect of unwarranted discretion in operational processes and procedure.
The leader of the team, Velerie Agodo, told the NPA management that they were an international conglomerate with vast interest and concerns in Joint Ventures and partnerships globally adding that they were interested in working in unison with NPA management.
She stated that they were in the scheme of ensuring that the organisation –NPA achieved government’s desire of a greater efficient regime especially as it concerns diversification into agricultural produce export which would bring about greater boast to the economy.