NPA Can Repay Port Reconstruction Loan – Bello-Koko

NPA Can Repay Port Reconstruction Loan – Bello-Koko
MD, NPA, Bello-Koko

 

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, has disclosed that the agency can conveniently repay the $700m loan facility it had secured for the rehabilitation of the Apapa and Tincan Island Ports in Lagos.

Bello-Koko disclosed this while briefing pressmen about the activities of the NPA on Tuesday in Lagos.

He claimed that the authority could generate revenue that would offset the loan funded by UK Export Finance.

Bello-Koko explained that the loan, which was given at less than seven per cent, had a 15-year repayment term and a three-year moratorium.

“It has recently been difficult to get funding from international funding agencies. However, we have been able to get funding from the UK of over $700m for the Tincan and Apapa Ports. For the two ports, the current engineering designs and drafts are about 13.5 meters. We are reconstructing to 16.5 meters. The essence is to enable us to enjoy economies of scale from the size of vessels that come in there,” he stated.

The NPA boss added that the authority was negotiating funding for the reconstruction of other eastern ports.

“We have also moved on to discuss with other funding agencies for the rehabilitation of the eastern ports. The oldest port is in the east, which is over 100 years old. That is the Rivers Port.

“Discussing with the funding agencies, we finally narrowed it down to a Chinese construction company that will fund and construct,” he explained.

According to the NPA boss, the Warri, Calabar, and Escravos, whose breakwaters collapsed about 10 years ago, need to be reconstructed.

He explained that the Tincan and Apapa ports would not be rehabilitated simultaneously, so as not to shut down port activities in the country’s busiest ports.

According to Bello-Koko, the Lekki Deep Seaport has been performing beyond expectations.

Bello-Koko also disclosed that the agency had improved access to the country’s ports, especially in Lagos, having reduced the number of checkpoints working with security agencies.

“We want to thank the Lagos State Government and security agencies who have worked with us to clear the port corridors,” he stated.

He noted the country’s exports had gone up due to the processing system, which had helped reduce bottlenecks.

Bello-Koko lauded the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, for supporting the NPA to improve trade facilitation in the country’s ports.

“The export processing system has shown that if you think outside the box, you will achieve more. We have been able to reduce waste and documentation,” he averred.

The NPA boss added that the authority had reduced exports from the export processing zone from 21 days to 48 hours, which improved the country’s exports.

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council disclosed that the country attracted $4.5bn from non-oil exports in 2023.

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