By Samson Enechim
Government agencies at the ports, port terminal operators and port users have been urged to synergise for the success of the ease of doing business policy of the government to ensure that cargoes are released from the ports quickly.
HadizaBala-Usman, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who made the call while addressing port stakeholders at a quarterly meeting of the Port Consultative Council (PCC) in Lagos, said the government was committed to making Nigerian ports leading ports in Africa.
She commended the PCC for impacting positively in the sector, noting that the NPA management was currently tackling critical issues facing optimal operational capacity in areas that border on maritime safety and security, port access roads and multimodal transportation of cargo in view of the country’s rich maritime potential.
“Indeed, analysing the overriding objectives of the federal government, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) depends largely on how swiftly we can correct the inherent deficits in our port infrastructure especially the port access roads,” Hadiza noted.
According to the NPA boss, her management team has embarked on ameliorating the challenges of doing business within the port environment. These include palliatives at ending the gridlocks at Apapa and its axis; conversion of Lilypond container terminal into a holding bay for trucks.
“Innovation with the automation of the call-up system for trucks and other incentives given for the transfer of cargo through barges from Ikorodu, Epe and Ijegun are some of the steps we have taken recently to smoothen the port processes.
“We also need greater synergy by all stakeholders towards making the best use of the opportunities the sub-sector has in stock to improve the development of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP),” she said.
KunleFolarin, chairman, Ports Consultative Council (PCC) said, “We have continued to score a lot of mileage and we need the support of all agencies to move the council to the next level. The council has been able to collaborate with stakeholders in the transport sector to bring required developmental progress to the industry calling for greater partnership.”