According to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Lekki multi-purpose seaport is estimated to provide more than 170,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities for Nigerians once completed. This is expected to have a favorable influence on the country’s economy and unemployment rate. President Muhammadu Buhari officially inaugurated the Lekki Deep Seaport on January 23, 2023. Following the completion of the first phase of the Lekki Deep Seaport, full commercial operation was envisaged by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Mohammed Koko, Managing Director of NPA, made this announcement on Saturday in Enugu during their Special Day at the ongoing 34th Enugu International Trade Fair, which is being hosted by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ECCIMA). He said that the Lekki Deep Seaport, identified as the deepest port in West Africa would be a significant game-changer in Nigeria’s Maritime sector. Therefore, it would have a favorable influence on the economy of the country in many different ways.
NPA would continue to engage with partners in the economic growth.
Koko, who was represented by Ibrahim Nasiru, the Principal Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, NPA, Lagos, stated that the seaport would strive to be the pioneering port in the African region. This is an aspiration that can be accomplished through the mutual effort of trade development drivers. He said that the NPA would continue to engage with partners in the economic growth of Nigeria and regarded ECCIMA to be partners in the development of the nation.
It is clear to see that the maritime sector is a significant economic driver considering the fact that 85 percent of the volume of economic activity is carried out via the ports globally and it remains the principal entryway to the international marketplace. Koko said he was thrilled to hear that ECCIMA continues its endeavor in creating forums and fostering an environment where entrepreneurs can grow and thrive. The director general also said that the logistics chain will benefit from the rehabilitation of rail lines leading to and from the ports.
Much effort is required to ease affairs of importers facing challenges.
Lilypond Terminal at the NPA gives exporters the facilities they need to do business at lower cost and in less time, making them more competitive on the global market. This is done to promote the export of locally produced items, thereby increasing the country’s non-export and reducing the difficulties inherent in the export cargo supply chain. Koko went on to say that the NPA will keep pushing to increase the country’s exports of agriculture products and solid mineral resources.
Jasper Nduagwuike, president of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ECCIMA), praised NPA for returning to the fair after an absence of many years and called for the implementation of steps to relieve congestion at ports around the nation. He emphasized that much more effort is required to ease the affairs of importers particularly those from the Southeast, who are still facing avoidable challenges and longtime delays while trying to clear their goods at ports like Onne and Port Harcourt.
Operators should establish realistic strategies for addressing problems.
Represented by Odega Jideonwu, ECCIMA’s First Deputy President, Nduagwuike, noted that it is uncertain when operators in the industry would stop putting blame on each other. Therefore, he encourages them to establish more realistic and effective strategies for addressing the problems that have long impeded the marine sector’s ability to contribute to national growth and development. Moreover, he applauded the parastatal for its strategic function and dedication, as well as its vital position in the economic life of the people, especially in the growth and facilitation of commerce and industry.