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Improved port infrastructure pivotal to Africa’s economic growth – Buhari

The President of the Federal Republic Of
Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (2nd from left), the
Chairman 2018 International Association for Ports and Harbours ((IAPH)
Conference, and former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar, RTD, (left),
the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (3rd
from left), the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala
Usman (right) during the opening ceremony of the IAPH Conference and Exhibition
in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has
advocated the effective deployment of improved port infrastructure across all
countries within the continent in order to maximize maritime potentials
within the territory.

Addressing
participants at the Conference of the International Association of Ports and
Harbours (IAPH) holding at The Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, under the Theme
“African Ports and Hinterland connections, Buhari said that the linkage
of port operation to the hinterland by multi modal transport techniques would
result in the commendable economic growth and improved standard of living of
the people. 

He therefore charged participants to synergize and collaborate
with one another.
According
to the President, this inter-connectivity would infer in great enabling
environment and frontier for competitive edges if well managed. 

He added that
the availability of standard rail lines and effective road networks amongst
others would result in plausible African prosperity across board.

“The
same level of serious attention is being given the improved road
infrastructure”. At the moment, 25 major highways and 44 roads are under
construction across six geopolitical zones of the country just as we have
insisted on the stimulation of activities on the inland waterways.”

The
President said that as part of the economic recovery growth plan of the government,
the ease of doing business would help drive trade facilitation both in the
nation, across Africa and by implication the world at large.

In
his address, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike
Amaechi urged participants at the 3-day conference (17th-19th September) to optimize their comparative advantages in order to improve the
welfare of the people.

He
stated that Government remained committed to the deployment of multi transportation
modes of operation in the sector, by way of improved rail services and other
supply chains to the Hinterland.

“With
the development of the inland dry port in Kano and Kaduna, with the direct
rail connection also, cargoes and containers are easily transported to Northern
Nigeria.
“We are partnering with the government of Niger Republic in the
construction of Maradi from Kano to promote regional motivation of trade and
inter connectivity.”

Also speaking, the African Regional Vice President (IAPH), Hadiza Bala
Usman, who also is the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA),   said that Africa definitely has a place of pride amidst the fact that 39 out
of the 54 countries in the continent are endowed with littoral assets calling
for optimal exploitation of these vast maritime dividends.

The
NPA MD enjoined operators within the continent to imbibe best practices in
the areas of speed of operation in service delivery as well as adopting of
new techniques amongst others reiterated that IAPH from inception had helped
promote port development across the world through Synergy and Collaboration
for efficient and effective port operations and shipping activities.

Similarly,
she stressed that members of the Association leverage on one another’s
technical expertise in line with best practices pointing out that the use of
barges, inland water ways, the efficient utilization of dry ports and the
deployment of pipelines for the evacuation of cargoes across African ports
and indeed the world over is the route to go should we want to compare within
the comity of Nations.

Hadiza
said ‘‘Organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO), The
International Maritime Organization (IMO) and United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development UNCTAD are here to avail us the opportunity to latest
global practice and environment that exists for the development of Ports in
Africa.’’

The conference is a gathering of technocrats, stakeholders and operators in the
world under one roof in attempt at proffering solutions to the many questions
facing port operations globally but with specific consideration on matters
concerning “Hinterland Connectivity”.

The focus of  the conference covers prioritization of effective policies,
funding, infrastructural upgrade, administrative excellence, blue economy and regional integration. 



Others areas of coverage include: operational efficiency, digital infusion and ICT utilization, trade facilitation, capacity building, revenue generation, and more areas of interest to the industry and the economy in general.


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