Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has committed to rebuilding infrastructure that supports multimodal means of transportation from the ports to the hinterland. President Buhari has directed the linking of major seaports in the country to rail infrastructure.
The president stated that the current administration’s projection is that by the end of 2021, the country will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading routes.
He gave the hint while declaring open the first ever conference of the African Region of the International Association for Ports and Harbours in Abuja.
“We understand that this interconnectivity will improve the country’s economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth plan (ERGP). So, for starters, I have directed that every port must have the complement of rail infrastructure and our projections is that by the end of 2021, we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route,” said the President.
He further added that the same level of serious attention is being given to the improvement of road infrastructure. At the moment, 25 major highways and 44 roads are under construction across the six geo political zones of the country.
“Just as we have insisted on the stimulation activities on our inland waterways, major inland river channels are being dredged with adequate channel markings for ease of navigation all the way through the Eastern and Northern parts of the country. That is the only way to go if we plan to remain competitive in the maritime industry,” he said.
Continuing, he disclosed that it is particularly gratifying that at the time that Nigeria had the privilege of the vice presidency of this important body that the idea of a continental conference is coming up for the first time.
He added that it is a testament to the country’s commitment to the even development of the continent and its maritime industry in this particular instance.
He explained that countries in Africa are also largely connected by the same developmental challenges as well as large human capital and natural endowments, saying it behooves on the citizens to work together and deploy their resources towards solving those issues that militate against them.
Ports and Harbours
Similarly, the Vice President, International Association for Ports and Harbours (Africa) and Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, said that given the limitless potential and the concerted efforts of national leaders on the continent to explore the potentials that ports bear, there could be no better time for administrators of ports across the continent to ponder on the best ways to improve connectivity to the hinterland where most of the cargoes that we receive at our ports are designed for.
According to her, there is no doubt that one of the determinants factors for the relevance of ports is the speed and seamlessness with which owners of cargo are able to move their consignments out of the ports and that Africa really does still have a lot of work to do in this area.”