The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has revealed that it has secured a $700m loan from Citibank to rehabilitate the Apapa and Tincan Island Ports in Lagos.

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It was stated that the loan was funded by the UK Export Finance, an export credit agency,

In a statement issued yesterday, NPA said it had also opened discussions with another funding agency to finance the upgrading of the Eastern Ports including Calabar, Warri, Onne, and Rivers Ports as well as the reconstruction of Escravos Breakwater.

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday during the signing of the mandate letter with Citibank Nigeria, the Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the mandate letter would be sent to the Debt Management Office for final review and approval.

Bello-Koko revealed that the funds were ready and the rehabilitation of the Lagos Ports would start soon.

According to him, the NPA had perfected plans to sign another mandate letter for the upgrading of the Eastern Ports in about a month.

“In the last two years, NPA has realised the need to rehabilitate and reconstruct the ports all over the country. We have been having discussions with multilateral funding agencies that have sent various proposals that we have reviewed

“What we did was to further the discussion with interested parties and we realised it better to separate the ports in Lagos from the ports in the east, and we are in discussion with another funding agencies to fund the construction of ports outside Lagos,” Bello-Koko said.

“Port efficiency is not about automation which we have already begun, it’s also about the physical infrastructure, which must be in place and that’s why we are automating. Automation will naturally bring efficiency, increase revenue, and plug leakages, “he added.

Bello-Koko said that the NPA was putting the Port Community System in place, which is a platform that will improve trade facilitation.

“Currently in Nigeria, importers or exporters fill up to 30 to 40 forms for one transaction but the Port Community System would reduce the numbers of forms, human interference and ensure speedy clearance process in or out of the country,” the NPA boss added

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Citibank Nigeria Limited, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, said the bank was committed to supporting NPA and the Federal Government in bridging the infrastructural gap.

“We are delighted to be partnering with NPA especially being the collection bank for foreign and local currency port levies

“Now, supporting this strategic initiative through export credit financing to upgrade port infrastructure in Tincan and Lagos Ports was commendable. We are committed to supporting NPA and the Nigerian government in all its endeavors especially in the infrastructure space,” Samuel-Ogbu said.

“Since NPA generates its foreign revenue, we would be able to support foreign facilities from our resources because this project is very strategic and an important project for NPA and the country at large

“We are looking forward to this project and we thank NPA for giving us this opportunity and hope to bring this to fruition as soon as possible,” she added.