From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
No fewer than two vessels will be deployed on the West African coast before the end of this quarter as promoters tackle the challenges of movement of people and goods in the region, the Managing Director of Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr. Abba Bello, has disclosed.
Bello told newsmen during the commissioning of Beloxxi Industries’ biscuit production facilities at Agbara that about six vessels would be deployed in the project being promoted to boost export in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Central African region.
According to him, NEXIM is working with such ECOWAS bodies as the Federation of ECOWAS Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), ECOWAS Transport Logistics and a the Cameroun-based Transimex to put vessels on the coast of West and Central Africa to facilitate the movement of goods and people.
“We are looking at the end of this quarter for the deployment of the vessels in view,” he said. “We have done almost everything – got the chatterers; agreements in place, and I think before the end of the quarter we should be able to put at least one or two vessels on the coast.
“For the vessels, any port in West Africa is home, and that has been achieved. We also have got the charterers (about four) on board, who are ready to deploy the vessels. Currently, we have about six vessels that will eventually ply the route, but we are looking at two before the end of the quarter.”
The NEXIM chief further disclosed that in line with the ongoing advocacy for free movement of people and goods to promote economic growth with the strong participation of the private sector, ECOWAS is involved in the project to give it a community status
Core to the mandates of NEXIM, and by saving traders the present difficulties in crossing land borders of ECOWAS states, the project will ultimately see to the transportation of people, agricultural produce and manufactured goods within and beyond the sub-region.
On the state of the roads in Nigeria, Bello said that “a lot of initiatives are on, especially roads and sea. We are working with the Federal Ministry of Transport and other government agencies to facilitate that.”