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NPA has capacity to repay $700m loan facility for Tincan Ports – Bello-Koko 

Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko has assured of the agency’s capacity to repay the $700million loan facility secured and funded by UK Export Finance, for the rehabilitation of the Apapa and Tincan Island Ports in Lagos.

He said the facility, approved for the agency at less than seven per cent and a three-year moratorium, is to repaid over a 15-year period.

Speaking to journalists in Lagos recently, Bello-Koko said: “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.”

On the agency’s plan for the other eastern ports, the NPA boss said:  “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.”

The NPA MD told the newsmen that the agency had improved access to the country’s ports, especially in Lagos, with the reduction in the number of checkpoints working with security agencies.

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

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

While admitting that the reinstatement of Intel had led to significant increase in revenue at the port, Bello-Koko said Nigeria now does more of export than import, which according to him, is good for the economy.  

He said: “We are manufacturing more and export has increased. For me as a Nigerian, I will be happy if import is dropping. More of these exports are in the agricultural items. We are beginning to have interest in export.”

The NPA also explained how the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, had drastically eased and helped to improve trade facilitation in the country’s ports.

“I have never seen a more willing civil servant like the present Comptroller General of Customs. He calls me and I give him a list of changes we desired to ease our operations, and quietly, this is done.

“Sitting with him, we discussed 24 hours and we are seeing changes in our cargo inspection. Ports in the world don’t go to sleep 24 hours. Hecreated export lily port command. This has drastically reduced delays. We are also working with him to provide scanners,” he said. 

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