The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, has expressed confidence that the perennial gridlock in the Port City of Apapa would be gone by the first quarter of 2021.
Bello expressed the confidence while hosting members of the Presidential Committee on Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He disclosed that the gridlock and other challenges relating to infrastructure that could de-market Nigeria as AfCFTA begins in January 2021 were being addressed to ensure the country benefits in the free trade agreement.
He said: “We have a deficit on infrastructure, issues in rail, road, connectivity between our ports and the hinterland and elsewhere in Africa.
“I am an optimistic person and that is why I want to say that by March, first quarter of 2021, the gridlock in Apapa will disappear.
“This is because we are approaching it in a scientific angle, first we have to make the ports digital and contactless, no need to go to the port to make payment or other transaction, all these will be online.
“This agreement is good but will only favour those who are ready, who are continuously improving on their infrastructure and if I look at the state of our readiness, then we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Speaking also, Co-Champion of the AfCFTA delegation for the transport sector, Funmi Folorunsho, said the visit to the NSC was to seek partnership with the council ahead of the take – off of the AfCFTA.
“The essence of this meeting is to start off an engagement with NSC, to work with them to ensure that Nigeria optimises the potentialities, benefits not just by sitting down but hardwork,” she said.