The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo and the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola will hold talks in a bid to speed-up the reconstruction of the dilapidated port access roads to Onne seaport.
Sambo made this disclosure today at Onne, Rivers State, as part of a 3-day fact finding tour to ascertain why the port is not performing at maximum capacity.
The Transport Minister maintained that the Federal Government remains determined to reposition the Onne seaport and maximize its huge potentials in export and import trades.
His words: “Part of the reasons I’m here is to look into why the Rivers ports are not working. Whatever the challenges are, we will address them. I will discuss with stakeholders and we will come up with short term, medium term and long term plans on how to overcome those challenges and make the ports productive”
Speaking on the dilapidated access road to Onne port, the Minister assured that Sukuk IV will take care of that, adding that he would liaise with his counterpart, the FMWH Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola to see how it can be fast-tracked.
The Minister, however, frowned at terminal operators who defraud the Federal Government by not complying with payment of the Practitioners Operating Fees (POF), warning that it will no longer be tolerated.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello- Koko said government is very serious about the need to increase traffic at the Eastern ports, so as to decongest the Lagos ports.
On the issue of security, he said: “we are working with the Nigerian Navy to improve security on our waterways and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has deployed assets under the Deep Blue Project that would beworking with the Nigerian Navy to improve security along the waterways”
At the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) Nigeria, the Managing Director, Naved Zafa, while briefing the Minister on their facility, noted that as part of the terminal’s upgrade and expansion project, it has acquired sufficient cargo handling equipment to improve the efficiency of the port.
Speaking further, he reiterated that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has just installed a new scanning machine at the port complex, which was acquired by the Federal Government and inaugurated by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd).
According to him, the scanner would facilitate trade, ensure security and drastically reduce the importation of illicit goods by unscrupulous persons, adding that it would reduce dwell time by promoting faster and easier treatment of cargoes.
Other facilities visited were: Integrated Logistics Services Terminal, International Container Terminal, Onne Multipurpose Terminal and Brawal.
The Minister was accompanied on the trip by the Director, Finance and Accounts, Transport Ministry, Umaru Hassan who represented the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Director, MSD, FMT, Babatunde Sule; Director Legal Services, Pius Oteh; Director, Rail, Jimoh Yusfu; Director, Press, Eric Ojiekwe; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko; Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria; among others.
This information was disseminated via a press release issued today by Mr. Eric Ojiekwe, Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Transportation.