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Bala Usman: NPA committed to improving Delta ports

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)  remains commit-ted to improving the patronage of Delta ports to boost public revenue, its Managing Director Ms Hadiza Bala Usman has said.

Speaking with The Nation on the sideline of the just-concluded stakeholders’ forum organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Warri, Delta State, Ms Usman assured shippers, exporters, stakeholders and other operators that the agency will stimulate economic activities in the area.

She said the meeting was part of the Federal Government’s efforts through the NPA, NIMASA, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and other agencies to reposition the seaports for rapid economic activities.

Sources at the Delta port told The Nation that NPA has repaired some of the Tug Boats and a Pilot Cutters to facilitate trade and boost efficiency at ports.

Delta Shippers’Association (DELSA) President Dr Austin Egbegbadia said the Delta ports are strategically located to enhance the growth and development of the economy.

Egbegbadia identified the following as the potential of the port: The distance for moving cargoes to catchment states of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Edo, Kogi, Abuja, Benue, Katsina and Kano is short compared with other operational ports; it gives the shippers the benefits of choice as Delta port manages four standard location, despite the challenges; the port can generate its cargoes and has excellent delivery of cargo; its turnaround time for vessels is excellent; quick identification and documentation of cargoes and security of cargoes is guaranteed and adequate modern facilities to handle various cargoes are assured by the concessionaires.

While allying the fear of importers and exporters, he said the group had decided to promote the ports to boost merchant shipping and add significant value to the economy of the region as far as non-oil exports are concerned.

“Some of the challenges we are facing is the erroneous perception that the Delta ports are unsafe to both local and international investors. This hype is largely fermented by mischievous elements whose sole purpose is to draw some sort of gain by such derogatory news,’ he said.

Egbegbadia called for the dredging of the Escravos Bar that leads into the Warri ports, saying this would lead to job creation and wealth creation.

Meanwhile, the government is set to automate ports operations across the country, NIMASA Director-General, Dr Dakuku Peterside has said .

Speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting, Peterside said this would assist the government to reduce human contact and corruption, and promote transparency in the industry.

The theme of the event was: “Implementation of Executive Order One (1) – Ease of Doing Business in a secure maritime environment”.

In a communiqué at the end of the meeting, the stakeholders agreed on the following: The Ministry of Transportation and its agencies should explore alternate financing windows, such as the establishment of Maritime Bank to address the financing gap created by the unsuitability of lending rates of banks for the shipping business; revive NIMAREX as a platform for bridging the gap between the shipping industry and prospective international investors to provide impetus for growth and investment.

Others are that government agencies should address the challenge of under-declaration of cargo at ports to plug revenue leakage. It should seek the dredging of the Escravos Bar to facilitate the access of large dry cargo vessels into Warri ports, they added.

The stakeholders said the government should collaborate with the maritime communities to rely on their  knowledge and intelligence for fighting maritime crimes, such as piracy, sea robbery and vessel hijack.

For manpower development and capacity building, the stakehol-ders said the government should consider a return to the former system, where the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) contributed to the training of Master Mariners who are 180 with over 75 per cent above the retirement age.

They also said the government should establish transit parks for trucks waiting to access the ports and implement an automated call-up system that prevents their proliferation around the ports to resolve the gridlock in Apapa.

 

The post Bala Usman: NPA committed to improving Delta ports appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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