The Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost the movement of cargo through the inland waterways.
The MoU aims to enhance the movement of goods and services within Nigeria and across the West African sub-region for improved economic and national development.
During the ceremony, which held at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, said it was strategic and fulfilling for the navy to be a part of programme, being the coordinator of the national hydrographic surveys.
His words: “Since it is the constitutional responsibility of the Nigerian Navy to coordinate all national hydrographic surveys, it is only natural for the Service to be part of this strategic partnership.
“Indeed, today’s epoch signing ceremony will remain indelible in my memory as it marks a new phase in the attainment of Nigerian Navy’s statutory responsibilities regarding the charting and survey of the nation’s maritime areas.”
“Following the Nigerian Navy’s attainment of hydrographic survey and charting capacity with the unveiling of the first and second indigenous navigational charts, we are here today to move to the next phase toward opening up the nation’s inland waterways.
“Today’s ceremony follows several months of tedious deliberations between the Nigerian Navy and the NIWA-NEXIM partnership for the survey of Nigeria’s inland waters.
“Since it is the constitutional responsibility of the Nigerian Navy to coordinate all national hydrographic surveys and produce charts for use by mariners within Nigerian waters, it was only natural for the Nigerian Navy to be part of this strategic partnership.”
Ibas said that the partnership necessitated the drafting of a MoU to guide the engagement between the Service and the NEXIM Bank toward actualising the overall objectives of the Regional Sealink Project, which the Bank was driving.
”As you know, the Sealink Project was initiated to remove the huge logistics challenges and non-tariff measures along the Economic Community of West African states trade corridor.
”I am glad that after series of meetings and interactions, the Nigerian navy and NEXIM Bank have been able to produce an MoU to formalise their partnership.
”I wish to reassure our partners of Nigerian navy’s capacity to support the project to its fruition in order to enhance economic trade and movement of goods and Services both within Nigeria and across the West Africa region for a more wholesome economic and national development,” he said.
The CNS expressed gratitude to all persons who had contributed to making the MoU a reality.
Speaking earlier, Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Alh. Abba Bello, gave assurances of the bank’s readiness to ensure efficient and quick adherence to all conditions of the partnership.