The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated the effective deployment of improved port infrastructure across all countries within the continent in order to maximize maritime potentials within the territory.
Addressing participants at the Conference of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) holding at The Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, under the Theme “African Ports and Hinterland connections, Buhari submitted that the linkage of port operation to the hinterland by multi modal transport techniques would result in the commendable economic growth and improved standard of living of the people. He therefore charged participants to synergize and collaborate with one another.
According to the President, this inter-connectivity would infer in great enabling environment and frontier for competitive edges if well managed. He added that the availability of standard rail lines and effective road networks amongst others would result in plausible African prosperity across board.
He said: “the same level of serious attention is being given the improved road infrastructure”. At the moment, 25 major highways and 44 roads are under construction across six geopolitical zones of the country just as we have insisted on the stimulation of activities on the inland waterways”.
The President also said that as part of the economic recovery growth plan of the government, the ease of doing business would help drive trade facilitation both in the nation, across Africa and by implication the world at large.
In his address, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi urged participants at the 3-day conference (17th-19th) September to optimize their comparative advantages in order to improve the welfare of the people.
He stated that Government is committed to the deployment of multi transportation modes of operation in the sector, by way of improved rail services and other supply chains to the Hinterland.
“With the development of the inland dry port in Kano and Kaduna, with the direct rail connection also, cargoes and containers are easily transported to Northern Nigeria”. “We are partnering with the government of Niger Republic in the construction of Maradi from Kano to promote regional motivation of trade and inter connectivity”.
Speaking at the Conference, the African Regional Vice President (IAPH), HadizaBala Usman who also is the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said that Africa definitely has a place of pride amidst the fact that 39 out of the 54 countries in the continent are endowed with littoralassets calling for optimal exploitation of these vast maritime dividends.
The NPA MD enjoined operators within the continent to imbibe best practices in the areas of speed of operation in service delivery as well as adopting of new techniques amongst others reiterated that IAPH from inception had helped promote port development across the world through Synergy and Collaboration for efficient and effective port operations and shipping activities.
Similarly, she stressed that members of the Association leverage on one another’s technical expertise in line with best practices pointing out that the use of barges, inland water ways, the efficient utilization of dry ports and the deployment of pipelines for the evacuation of cargoes across African ports and indeed the world over is the route to go should we want to compare within the comity of Nations.
Hadiza said ‘‘Organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO), The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD are here to avail us the opportunity to latest global practice and environment that exists for the development of Ports in Africa.’’
The Conference is a gathering of Technocrats, stakeholders and Operators in the world under one roof in attempt at proffering solutions to the many questions facing port operations globally but with specific consideration on matters concerning “hinterland connectivity”.
The Conference’s areas of discussion include: Prioritization of effective policies, funding, Infrastructural Upgrade, Administrative Excellence, Blue Economy and Regional Integration. Others areas of coverage include: Operational Efficiency, Digital Infusion and ICT utilization, Trade Facilitation, Capacity Building, Revenue Generation and other areas of Best practices as may echo during the conference.