By Steve Agbota
Agence Française de Development (AFD), a public sector funding agency promoted by the French government, has expressed its readiness to support the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in her quest to modernise and expand Port infrastructure for a competitive and cost efficient environment for Port related businesses in Nigeria.
A high-level team from AFD and the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) met with the Management of NPA last week to hold discussions regarding credit support for port infrastructure development, among other critical transport assets in the State.
Acting Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello -Koko, told his guests that the Authority welcomes every support to retool and upgrade Port infrastructure in Nigeria to world class status.
He indicated the desire of the NPA to collaborate with development partners like AFD, as it’s credit support does not require sovereign guarantee, as it comes with flexible moratorium and repayment plan.
Bello-Koko informed the AFD delegation that he recently led a meeting between the Authority, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Terminal Operators, where discussions centred on ways of funding Port renewal projects, especially at the Lagos Ports Complex i(LPC) in Apapa and the Tin-Can Island Ports Complex (TICP), which is nearing its useful life.
The AFD team, led by David Margonsztern, disclosed that his Agency operates a credit facility agreement with the Lagos State Government and his team is currently carrying out an Implementation Support Mission on Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (LSTMP), our visit to the NPA is therefore to explore funding opportunities to support Port infrastructure renewal under the Lagos Urban Transport Sector program, he explained.
The AFD he said, intends to partner with the Authority on infrastructure expansion and modernization programs in Lagos State, especially the development of facilities like truck parks and improvement of access corridors to the port, for the benefit of residents and businesses in Lagos as well as the Nigerian economy generally.
The NPA MD while commending the joint team from AFD and LAMATA for the visit, assured that the Authority would continue to embrace relations and actions that would position the Port system in Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth.