Lilypond Terminal Designated Export Port
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
In the renew bid to deepen service delivery and hasten the growth of the port economy, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has designated Lilypond Container Terminal, Ijora Lagos as a specialized processing and handling facility for export of agricultural goods.
The development industry operators say is the greatest news for exporters of agricultural produce through the Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports, which has experienced ever increasing challenges in the past couple of years.
According to a statement by NPA General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, Ibrahim Nasiru, Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko explained that the move would ease the bureaucratic and logistical bottlenecks faced by exporters, thereby, promoting better access for the country’s non-oil exports into international markets.
Bello-Koko was quoted as having made the disclosure at authority’s special day celebration at the 43rd Kaduna International Trade Fair, where he disclosed that the Lilypond Terminal would offer exporters a one-stop space to carry out their transactions at a reduced cost and time, thereby, increasing their profit margin and competitiveness in the international market.
He said the 2022 Trade Fair theme: “Re-strategizing Nigerian Economy for Global Competitiveness” underscores the Federal Government’s agenda on the diversification of the economy away from reliance on hydrocarbons, by focusing on industrial development, especially local manufacturing and large scale food production.
He explained that before now, the NPA has initiated several strategies to maximise the movement of non-oil exports across the country’s borders.
“We are currently in discussion with the terminal operators to give priority to exportation of agricultural produce and solid minerals, this will stimulate our domestic economy, create thousands of jobs and increase the revenue profile of government at all levels.
“The Nigerian port industry remains a prime economic driver, bearing in mind that 85% by volume of the country’s trade are handled through the port. Maritime transport remains the main gateway to the global marketplace. Ocean ports are a central and necessary component in facilitating trade among nations.
“Ports are catalysts for economic development as they enable trade and support supply chains. Recognizing how huge our role as custodian of ports necessitates continuous participation at Trade Exhibitions like this”, he stated.
The NPA boss expressed the hope that Nigeria being the largest economy on the continent should be the hub of international trade in Africa.
“If we can harness those immense talents of our huge, enterprising, intelligent and determined youths, along with the vast array of natural resources we are endowed with, Nigeria will be among the first world countries in a decade.
“Nigerian Ports Authority has led the campaign for the actualization of the first of its kind, the Lekki Deep Seaport, which has reached 81 percent completion stage. The Lekki Deep Seaport is designed to be the deepest port in West Africa and will be a significant game-changer in Nigeria’s maritime economy. This multi-purpose port is expected to generate more than 170,000 direct and indirect jobs when completed, ” he said.
Speaking about efforts to sustain the traction in developing capacities, Bello-Koko informed that the Authority has began the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) in conjunction with sister agencies, to engender transparency and efficiency to reduce the cost of doing business at the port. The manual outlines the harmonized Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of Agencies operating in the maritime industry.
Bello-Koko noted that NPPM would foster a conducive environment for port users, streamline inspection and examination of cargo, check exploitation and corrupt tendencies by service providers, among other benefits.
He commended the organisers of the fair, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (KADCCIMA) for providing the platform for entrepreneurs to network and thrive.