Lagos — The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has called for a total diversification of the economy through non-oil export at the backdrop of the reduction in crude oil shipment.
Speaking at a webinar themed ‘Non-oil exports: Disrupting Nigeria’s growth cycle’ last week Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said that 78 percent of the total 191milion tons of cargo that passed through the ports 2019 was crude oil cargo, adding that the reduction in the shipment due to the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will adversely affect accruable revenue to the Federal Government in 2020.
Bala Usman also said that crude oil shipments are tied to exportation adding that crude oil cargo contributes the highest revenue of the Ports.
She stated: “By the reduced crude oil price and shipment, revenue expected by the Government from the ports will be reduced by 75%.
“This underscores the importance of diversification of the economy through non-oil exports so that we can reverse this trend.
“There is the need to encourage local investors, we are a large country of consumers We need to increase local production we need to make Domestic investment a priority.
She also said that the need to fast track export cargo cannot be over emphasized as it will enhance the Ease of doing business initiative of government and quicken the need to have express documentations before export cargo reaches the ports as against the practice where the export cargo get to the port before documentations commence which sometimes results in the export items getting spoilt.
She further disclosed that Terminal Operators have been directed and they have set up priority desk for export cargo
She added that the authority has commenced moves to de congest the ports by aggressively deploying rail link to Lagos Ports Complex, LPC and Tin Can Island Port.
Usman said that lack of multi-modalism is the reason why -75% of cargo pass through the roads.
On the issue of truck parks, she said that the Tin Can Island Truck Park has been concessioned just as NPA has commenced discussion with Lagos /Ogun State government to establish truck parks so that e-call up system can be introduced –Orile Truck Park is being earmarked for the purpose.
She further stated the movement of cargoes by water ways was not left out as NPA has encouraged and licensed Operators for the use of barges to move cargo out of the ports just as a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, has been signed with APMT Capital to utilize the use of barges.
Bala Usman also explained that the introduction of a Single Window platform should be made a priority as such platform will eliminate corruption and quicken the clearance of cargoes from the ports.
Speaking in similar vein, Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary Chief Eexecutive Officer, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, NIPC, said that attract foreign direct investment in 2020-2021 will fall by 30-40% and urged for urgent need to increase production capacity.
Sadiku explained that inspite of Africa contributing 17% of global population it is only able to attract 3% of FDI
In his submission, Ugo Obi chukwu –Publisher Nairametrics reiterated the need to do away with reliance on crude oil as a nation adding that currency depreciation will continue if we don’t diversify.
“A country relying on oil will not develop.”
Similarly, Segun Awolowo, Executive Secretary, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC said that Nigerian domestic investors should be encouraged adding that multinationals should diversify their production base and not concentrate in one region.
He disclosed that there has been an increased demand four for Nigerian goods and produce adding that Nigeria has been able to meet these increase in export demand.
“Increased incentives should be extended to domestic investors via tax, removal of administrative and regulatory bottlenecks, quick delivery after care /investors care, improvement in biz environment.”