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Prevailing ban on land borders’ll lead to full port utilization, growth – NPA boss

The leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has brushed aside speculations that the recent ban on importation of cars and rice via the land borders will not change anything at the ports, saying the ban will spur massive imports of goods including cars and rice and in the process grows facility utilization.

Addressing media men recently in Lagos, the managing director, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman said her administration is working on deepening the capacities of all the six ports in the country including Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port as well as other four ports in Onne, Rivers, Warri, and Calabar.

Besides, the Nigeria Customs Service has assured of seamless service delivery at all the ports as it has tightened security around the land borders in preparation for the full implementation of the Federal Government’s directive banning importation of rice and cars through the land borders from January 2017.

Usman expressed satisfaction that the increase in import duty on vehicles and rice by the last administration which has sent importers to ports of neighbouring countries and left the nation’s ports operating below capacity will change with the ban becoming effective from next financial year.

The NPA boss noted that the Nigerian ports have enough capacity t handle all genuine importation and exportation activities considering the performance of all the port concessionaires who have been raising the infrastructural base of the terminals.

According to her, “The Nigerian ports are ready to take on the challenge. We are ready to have seamless operations with improved traffic. Some of the traffic we have seen dwindling was as a function of some of the government’s policies on importation of new cars.

 “With this ban through the land borders, we will see an increase in activities within our ports and we have put in place the mechanism to ensure that additional traffic will not form any bottleneck. We will just upgrade what had existed before.

Explaining more on the efforts of the agency in working out modalities for the repair of port access roads, she said an understanding had been worked out between the NPA and Dangote Cement in collaboration with Flour Mills to tar the roads with cement concrete, a model experts say is the best for roads with regular heavy duty vehicles.