A team of experts from the Nigeria office of the World Bank has described the federal government port concession model that was rolled out in 2006 been the best in Africa.
The global financial body team visited the NPA alongside officials of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) where Olatunji
Ahmed, a Senior Transport Specialist with the Bank, assured the NPA 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 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.
Reacting to the Bank’s positive assessment, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, 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.
The NPA helmsman told the delegation from the financial institution and the Principal Investment Officer – Infrastructure (IFC), Christian Mulamula, that the Authority duly appreciates the excellent support provided by the World Bank under its private participation in infrastructure (PPI) scheme.
Bello-Koko said “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 more mega or deep-sea ports across the country with world class facilities, high quality and efficient operating systems, like the Lekki Deep Seaport is now our priority”, he declared.
Speaking further, he explained 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”, he appealed.
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.