NPA intervention yields  N270.58bn seaport projects in 12 months   

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The influence and moves by the Hadiza Bala Usman-led Nigerian Ports Authority has resulted in over N270.5bn budgeted for projects in and around the seaports between 2018 and 2020.

Specifically, the NPA in 2018, intervened in the rehabilitation of port access roads across the country from the Apapa port access road to the Calabar port access roads.

The agency’s Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, admitted that NPA had drawn a basket of the port access roads that needed rehabilitation and written to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, about the need to prioritise their rehabilitation.

The Federal Executive Council, in response to the recommendation, approved N8.9bn for the rehabilitation of roads in Cross River State as well as the Ikom Bridge.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said the roads and 330-metre bridge will create access to the port for trucks to move freely with their containers.

“This will help to facilitate further activity in the Calabar port and ease the challenges being faced,” he said.

Usman explained to an ad-hoc committee that had paid a visit to her office,  that the Ikom Bridge was a key access route that connects Cross River State to the North Eastern part of the country, adding that the projects would provide better linkages to the hinterland and attract more business to the eastern ports.

The NPA MD has also been active and passionate about the Lekki Deep Seaport, a N192.5bn project that recently received N79.6bn equity funding from the China Harbour Engineering company.

According to the agency, the Lekki Deep seaport is expected to have significant positive impact estimated at US$361bn over the term of concession and to contribute more than US$200bn to the government exchequer in addition to creating close to 170,000 new jobs.

It said the project will also spur the economic development around the Lekki sub-region and the wider Lagos State through rapid industrialization.

As part of efforts to increase efficiency  and reduce congestion around the ports, the NPA superintended the purchase and deployment of N28.8bn new mobile harbour cranes and facilities by the AP Moeller Terminals, concessionaires of the Apapa port.

Earlier, Usman pushed for and got approval for dredging of the Escravos channel, Warri port, at the cost of N13.7bn.

The maintenance dredging, which was done to clear a 10-year old silt at the entrance of the channel, has opened the place up, causing more ships to call at the port.

She has also given the assurance that NPA was engaging consultants on the level of investments needed to move the channel draft to 7.5 metres.

Before the onset of the COVID-19, Usman had lined up projects targeted at easing traffic along the port access roads in Lagos.

Worried about the level of insecurity at the eastern ports and its impact on investments and growth of the port, Usman has engaged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to deploy security infrastructure around the area.

Also, believing that manual cargo examination is partly responsible for congestion around Lagos ports, she has engaged the Customs to look into deployment of scanners to facilitate cargo examination and speed of transaction.

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