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Nigerian government’s strategic investment in ports

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Nigerian government's strategic investment in ports

Nigerian government’s strategic investment in ports

The Nigerian government, under President Bola Tinubu, has committed to significant investments aimed at transforming the country’s maritime sector. This initiative, spearheaded by the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, seeks to reposition Nigeria as a leading nation in marine business.

Inauguration of New Tugboats

During the inauguration of two newly acquired 80-ton bollard pull tugboats by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Minister Oyetola highlighted the government’s dedication to enhancing the efficiency of port operations. These tugboats, named MT IRAGBIJI and MT BAMA, are set to bolster operations at the Dangote Refinery and Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos, facilitating the berthing of vessels and enhancing port efficiency.

“We recognize the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth and will do all that is required to update the existing facilities,” Oyetola stated. He emphasized the need to maximize the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and to optimize Nigeria’s competitive edge as a littoral nation.

Strategic Investment and Technological Advancement

The multi-million dollar investment in these state-of-the-art vessels marks a significant step towards strengthening Nigeria’s position in the West and Central Africa sub-region. The tugboats will support international trade, enhance security, and provide efficient pilotage and towage services. This development is part of the NPA’s broader strategy to achieve regional hub status by efficiently servicing domestic cargo needs and attracting transit cargoes previously lost to neighboring countries.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of the NPA, underscored the importance of this acquisition in fulfilling the NPA’s deliverables under the Presidential/Ministerial Performance Bond. He noted that the marine crafts would serve operations at the Lekki corridor, which has become a hub for energy self-sufficiency, agricultural growth, and trade transshipment capacity.

“Data from Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals shows that 120 tanker vessels have been handled in the six months from January to June 2024, with a projection for 415 between July and December,” Bello-Koko stated, highlighting the corridor’s capacity to handle increased cargo traffic.

Collaborative Efforts for Economic Growth

The conference also saw contributions from other key stakeholders in the maritime sector. Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, praised the collaborative efforts between Customs and the NPA in developing the export sector, automating processes, and decongesting ports. He assured that Customs would continue to enhance the ease of doing business, aligning with the vision of the current administration.

Dr. Dayo Mobereola, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), lauded the NPA and the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy for their roles in driving efficient service delivery at the nation’s seaports. He emphasized that only through efficiency could Nigeria regain cargo lost to neighboring West African ports.

The Path to Sustainable Growth

Yemisi Izuora, Publisher of Oriental News, stressed the importance of transitioning to a green economy to achieve sustainable growth. She pointed out that the current economic strategies have often led to environmental degradation and other negative impacts. Izuora called for innovative business models, responsible practices, and green technologies to overcome these challenges and ensure sustainable development.

“Changing the paradigm to a green economy will boost natural capital stocks, safeguard the environment, and ensure social justice by providing practical tools and approaches to achieve sustainable growth while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities,” Izuora stated.

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