The Managing Director, Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has stated that it would cost over $600 million to reconstruct the Tin Can Port.

According to him during a live broadcast on Arise TV, the Authority had been proactive in seeking funding options by having discussions with multilateral funding agencies to fund the reconstruction.

“The other option is to go to government and I request that the NPA be allowed to use a certain percentage of the funds it is transferring on a yearly basis to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in order to fund the reconstruction of Tin Can Ports. We transfer between N60 billion every year and if government could approve 40 or 50 per cent of that amount to be used for the construction of ports we believe we do not need to borrow actually,” he said.

He also added, “The other option is to do a hybrid funding where NPA funds part of it and then we get multilateral agencies to provide funding for another percentage of it. The final option is for terminal operators to fund this reconstruction, but not all terminal operators that have the same financial capacity or will be able to source funds at the same time and we do not want to haphazard construction process. So this has to be properly coordinated, working with the Ministry of Transportation this decision is being taken and it has to be taken at the right time and properly.”

Meanwhile, the NPA boss stated that the Authority was targeting 2023 to fully automate the nation’s port processes, noting that this comes on the heels of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO’s) regulation for all ports to fully automate by 2025.

“We have set up a target for ourselves for 2023 and the IMO is funding some of this. The first phase was done virtually and it has been concluded. IMO is currently in Lagos to conduct on the spot assessment. The assessment will take ten days after which they will go and come back again and the final part of it will be funded by NPA and on their return, they will visit every port in Nigeria,” he added.

He said the visit would also develop a port community system that would be robust, all encompassing, and would bring everybody on board and might be the catalyst or the foundation that will lead to the deployment of a national single window, which is a requirement in the modern maritime world for trade facilitation and ease of doing business.

He noted that the Authority has been able to transfer over N45 billion in the last four months to the CRF, saying out of the N45 billion, N26 billion was achieved in 2022.

He however allayed the fears over claims that the Tin Can port is on the verge of collapse, saying that although there are defects, but said the Authority is taking remedial actions by getting conceptual designs to get the port back to shape.

“For the Apapa Port, we are thinking of reconstructing it. There are failures but they are minor. But it is better to reconstruct all the ports that actually have defects. Currently the ports in Lagos are between 13b to 14 meters, we should reconstruct it to 60 meters but the problem with that is that the cost of dredging the channel to meet the 60 meters is over $130 million, the initial estimate,” he said.

He pointed out that the concession agreement signed by the government and NPA in 2006 was somehow skewed and not in the favour of the country and is currently being reviewed.

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