—–as Bello- Koko says 25- year port master plan back on track
The port concession model of the Federal Government that was rolled out in 2006, has been adjudged the best in Africa.
This claim was made by a team of experts from the World Bank, Nigeria Office who was on a working visit to the Nigerian Ports Authority’s head office, on Thursday.
Reacting to the Bank’s positive assessment during his meeting with World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) officials, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello Koko, stated that the port concession exercise has clearly enhanced Nigeria’s goal of becoming the leading blue economy in Africa.
He added that his administration’s focus is to facilitate port-led industrialization in the country through infrastructural renewal and deployment of modern technology tools.
The NPA helmsman told the delegation from the World Bank Nigeria Office led by Olatunji Ahmed and Christian Mulamula, Principal Investment Officer – Infrastructure (IFC), that the Authority duly appreciates the excellent support provided by the World Bank under its private participation in infrastructure (PPI) scheme.
“We at NPA fully appreciate that efficient port operations will enable our government and businesses to provide services that are affordable and sustainable, leading to reduced poverty and inequality.
He urged the bank to sustain the support and synergy especially now that the Authority is in search of alternative funding sources to bridge its infrastructure gaps.
“We look forward to better collaboration with the bank in the development of more mega or deep-sea ports across the country with world-class facilities, high quality and efficient operating system, like the Lekki Deep Seaport is now our priority”, he declared.
Bello-Koko further declared “with the quality of attention being paid by the Federal Government to port infrastructure renewal, we are very confident that moving goods to and from Nigerian ports would soon be top of the range, cost-efficient and comparable with the leading ports of the world.
” We have made remarkable progress tackling the intractable traffic gridlock on the port access roads with the deployment of an electronic call-up system for trucks, called “Eto”.
“There is room for improvement, the Apapa axis is good but on the Tin-Can axis, we’re calling for a quick fix before the rains”, he appealed.
The NPA MD informed the World Bank team that the 25 -Year Port Master-plan, which had earlier suffered some hitches, is now back on course, stressing that the Authority will work collaboratively with the Bank in the operationalization of the port master-plan.
Earlier in his remarks, Ahmed, a Senior Transport Specialist with the Bank, assured his host that the World Bank Group would continue to partner with Nigeria and other interested countries to develop transport infrastructure and services that are safe, green, efficient and inclusive.
He stated that the Bank is happy to partner with the Authority over the years and intends to continue to provide assistance to the Authority in the journey towards becoming the preferred destination of cargo in Africa.
The World Bank and IFC delegation expressed both organizations’ willingness to work with NPA in the improvement of port infrastructure under a public-private partnership arrangement between the Authority and other third parties.
They equally requested a project tracker report on the actions and milestones recorded in the port concession programme so far.
Ahmed also informed his host that his Office would assist the Authority in its review of the concession agreements with terminal operators: including governance; pricing; operations; transit/exit from the port; traffic management and other key issues, as outlined in the concession framework.
Mulamula disclosed that the IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), is set to make an investment in the Lekki Deep Seaport, just as it is willing to support the Terminal Operators upgrade their facilities and equipment.
He further said that the IFC plans to invest funds for the rehabilitation of the Tin-Can Island Port as private participation in infrastructure (PPI) project.
In a related development, the NPA MD along with members of the Management team met with the officials of Bollore Transport and Logistics Nigeria (formerly SDV Nigeria) led by its Managing Director, Folashade Akanni-Shelle.
The delegation from Bollore spoke about their company’s desire to expand its logistics facilities across the country, to boost its market share and service offerings in areas like customs releases, warehousing and door-to-door delivery to clients.
Akanni-Shelle explained that her organization remains a major operator in transport and logistics across the continent.
“We hope to sustain the cordial business relations we have established with the NPA for the benefit of the Nigerian economy”, she said.
Bello Koko assured Bollore of the NPA’s commitment to work closely with all its local and international partners.
He charged Bollore to identify likely locations suitable to set up such logistics bases, in particular at the Eastern Ports where such facilities are currently less available.
Freight Forwarders applaud Customs over new VIN valuation
Comptroller Kunle Oloyede of Tin Can Island Port, described VIN as a platform for robust gathering of statistical analysis and data for national economic purposes relying on the template of accuracy that will further integrate NCS with other ministries, departments and agencies.
Comptroller Hammi Swomen of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, who sought more cooperation from all stakeholders, stated that sincere declarations without tampering with relevant information contained in Single Goods Declaration or mismatching information will aid in quicker clearance and seamlessness of the VIN system.
Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters urged vehicle importers and their agents to avoid acts that would delay the process of clearing.
He explained that the process of identifying salvage and accident vehicles under the VIN regime would be very transparent as the declarant would be expected to attach photos showing the accidented vehicles.
He further explained that for vehicles to be treated as accidented, the chassis must be affected by the accident not just by removing fenders, bumpers and headlamps.
However, Farinto called for true declaration and compliance on the part of freight forwarders. w2hivh he said will facilitate their clearance of goods and also made the Customs to introduce more changes such as auto release for used vehicles.
U.S. picks 56 young Nigerians for Mandela Washington Fellowship
The United States Mission in Nigeria said it has chosen 56 young ‘changemakers’ for the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) for 2022.
The statement also indicated that U.S. Mission Nigeria has selected 16 alumni from the MWF cohort from 2021 to take part in this year’s Alumni Enrichment Institute.
Kathleen FitzGibbon, Deputy Chief of Mission, made this known at the pre-departure orientation programme in Abuja organised for the beneficiaries in preparation for their fellowship in the United States this Summer.
“For the 2021/2022 MWF application cycle, over 19,000 Nigerians started the application, and over 8,000 submitted the application by the deadline.
“Following this, a total of 56 Mandela Washingon fellowship awards were made available to Nigerians this year,” she said.
In a joyous mood, one of the fellows,
“I believe this will be a game-changer for me and every other fellow as we will learn optimised ways to enhance the quality and widen the scope of impact of our works,” he said.
Chisom Nwankwo, a social entrepreneur and cleantech expert who runs the Skilled Women Initiative said: “after having a Virtual fellowship in 2021 as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, I am really excited to be heading to Drexel University Pennslyvania this summer as an Alumni Enrichment participant of the MWF.”
“I am looking forward to creating new relationships that will be pivotal to the growth of my nonprofit TSWINI and the improvement of my knowledge on sustainable clean technology solutions,” she said.
Babajide Oluwase, the founder of Ecotutu, a cleantech company delivering a suite of cold chain solutions to African businesses, said it is really an exciting feeling for him to be selected for the fellowship.
“Upon completion of my studies in the United States, I look forward to integrating the learnings into my work to advance Ecotutu’s mission of democratizing access to affordable cooling solutions for African businesses.”
While admonishing the fellows, MWF program coordinator, Diran Adegoke, told fellows that the opportunity to travel to the United States is one to be cherished.
While making a presentation on “elevator speech” to the fellows, he encouraged them to present themselves in the best version possible and always remember that they are in the United States to represent Nigeria.
Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship exchange programme of the U.S. government-sponsored Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) created to further the United States’ commitment to investing in the future of Africa.
Each year, U.S. Missions across Sub-Saharan Africa select accomplished leaders, who have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their countries.
This summer, the Fellows will travel to the United States to participate in six-week Leadership Institutes studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management at U.S. colleges and universities.
At the conclusion of the Leadership Institutes, the Fellows will attend the annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where Fellows, U.S. government officials, and representatives from businesses and organisations with an interest in Africa engage in high-level sessions and workshops.
After completing the Leadership Institutes and Summit, Fellows are eligible to participate in several MWF alumni opportunities, such as the Alumni Enrichment Institute, that build on the skills and connections developed during their summer exchange program.
Recall that since 2014, more than 5,000 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the MWF with 456 Fellows of the lot coming from Nigeria. Thus far, Nigeria remains the largest contributor of Fellows each year.
Talking about the import of the MWF, Ambassador Leonard said, “The United States is dedicated to investing in the next generation of young Nigerian leaders reinforcing the strong partnership between both nations.
The vision, courage, and drive to innovate of Mandela Washington Fellows will help shape the future of Nigeria for many generations to come.”
Prophet Akinpelu calls for Southeast presidency
Popular prophet, Oludele Akinpelu, the presiding pastor of Living God Freedom Church Àlagbado, has urged the political class to play by the rules and allow equity and justice to have a foothold, saying that it was time for the political system to allow for the president of Igbo extraction.
” We must condemn jungle justice, if the lady had done something wrong let the court of competent jurisdiction decides.
In his message to Nigerians, he urged the people to repent and seek the path of righteous living, adding that the current insecurity situation in the country calls for concerted prayers on the side of both Christians and Moslems.
He attributed the worsening insecurity in the country to the activity of forces of darkness who are bent on foisting a sinister agenda on the country, cashing in on poverty and illiteracy to recruit an army of jobless illiterates to carry out their agenda.
He blamed the current administration for not doubling down on countermeasures against bandits, wondering why the administration is reluctant to name individuals fingered as sponsors of banditry, but added that divine punishment awaited those sponsoring insecurity which had led to the loss of lives of innocent citizens of the country.
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