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Why we designated Lilypond as non-oil export terminal — Koko

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Why we designated Lilypond as non-oil export terminal -- Koko

To ease the bureaucratic and logistical bottlenecks obstructing exporters and promote access to Nigeria’s non-oil exports in the international markets, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has affirmed Lilypond Container Terminal, Lagos as a specialised processing and handling facility for locally finished and agricultural goods.

NPA Managing Director, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, who stated this at the 43rd Kaduna International Trade Fair in Kaduna State, disclosed that the Lilypond would offer exporters a one-stop space for transactions at a reduced cost and time, thereby increasing their profit margin and competitiveness in the international market.

Also, he disclosed towards positioning Nigerian seaports as the preferred cargo destination in the West Africa, the NPA “has led the campaign for the actualisation of the first-of-its-kind Lekki Deep Seaport, which has reached 81 per cent completion stage,” which will begin operations in the last quarter of the year,

“The Lekki Deep Seaport is designed to be the deepest port in West Africa and will be a significant game-changer in Nigeria’s maritime economy. This multi-purpose port is expected to generate over 170,000 direct and indirect jobs when completed.”

According to him, the fair’s 2022 theme: “Re-strategising Nigerian Economy for Global Competitiveness,” underscores the Federal Government’s agenda on diversifying the economy from hydrocarbons by focusing on industrial development, especially local manufacturing and large scale food production.

The NPA, he added, has initiated several strategies to maximise the movement of non-oil exports across the country’s borders. Among them, “we are currently discussing with terminal operators to give priority to exportation of agricultural produce and solid minerals.

“This will stimulate our domestic economy, create thousands of jobs and increase the revenue profile of government at all levels,” a statement by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Ibrahim Nasiru, cited him as saying.

According to him, the Nigerian port industry remains a prime economic driver, mindful that 85 per cent of the country’s trade volume is handled through the port. Therefore, “maritime transport remains the main gateway to the global marketplace,” he added.

Koko said the NPA’s huge role as custodian of ports necessitates its continuous participation at such trade exhibitions because “ocean ports are central and necessary components in facilitating trade among nations. Ports are catalysts for economic development, as they enable trade and support supply chains.”

He expressed the belief that being the largest economy on the continent, Nigeria should be the hub of international trade in Africa.

“If we can harness those immense talents of our huge, enterprising, intelligent and determined youths, along with the vast array of natural resources we are endowed with, Nigeria will be among the first world countries in a decade,” he stated.

Meanwhile, to encourage quick and easy processing of imports, the Authority has begun the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) in conjunction with sister-agencies to engender transparency and efficiency, and reduce the cost of doing business at the port.

The manual outlines the harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of agencies operating in the maritime industry, and will foster a very conducive environment for port users, streamline inspection and examination of cargo, check exploitation and corrupt tendencies by service providers, among other benefits.

Commending the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) for another successful edition, Koko urged the body to brace up for the digital economy, and to join in marketing the economic benefits of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port (KIDP) to the state’s business community.

The dry port will help bring shipping services closer to business owners and residents of Kaduna, as it can handle both import and export cargoes.

In his welcome remarks, KADCCIMA President, Suleiman Aliyu, described NPA as the artery of the nation’s economy in view of its strategic role in trade facilitation and provision of access for businesses to trade across international borders.

He noted that Nigeria recently signed an agreement that would enhance the flow of goods between Nigeria and Chad.

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