A memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the Nigerian Import-Export Bank and the Nigerian Navy to speed up the actualization of the indigenous sea link project, inland waterways operations as well as coastal trade.
Nigeria’s waterways are major gateways to its economic development. However, the inability of the nation to chart and survey the maritime areas and their benefits are yet to be maximized.
This MoU serves as a legal framework aimed at bridging the gap to facilitate the regional sea link project, inland waterways operations as well as coastal trade.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas in his word said “These partnership has succeeded in drafting an MoU to guide the engagement between the Nigerian Navy and NEXIM Bank towards actualizing the overall objective of the regional sea link project which NEXIM bank is driving. As we know, the sea link project is aimed at mitigating the huge logistical problems and implement the ECOWAS non-tariff trade corridor and after numerous meetings, this partnership has produced this MoU as a binding legal framework. I want to assure our partner that the Navy can support this project to completion thereby enhancing Economic trade and speedy movement of goods across and within the coast of West Africa for better National development”.
The Bank Managing Director, Alhaji Abba Bello on the other hand identified the areas the can give support and cooperation to ensure Economic enhancement and stability of the inland waterways.
“The River Niger itself is traditional and since ancient times has always been a route for commerce before the colonial masters, it was used in that manner. Of course, at the time, vessels had a very low draft, so it was easy to navigate through the River Niger but as of now, the vessel are larger and there is need to come back to does days where the River Niger could be used as a channel to take goods in and out of Northern Nigeria. With the relationship achieved now, NEXIM bank has come to partner with the Nigerian Navy, specifically the hydrographic department to ensure that channel is salvaged.
Naturally what will follow after that will be the dredging of the channel and that will open that waterway from Lokoja right down to Burukiri and right down to forcadoes area thereby opening the Economy of Nigeria”
As Nigeria’s economic policy seeks to increase Local production content capacity and Exports, the MoU is expected to play a vital role to achieve its target.