NPA seeks DMO approval for $700m loan to rehabilitate Lagos Ports

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is awaiting the Debt Management Office’s (DMO) final review and approval of Citibank’s $700 million loan mandate, which will fund the rehabilitation of the Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports in Lagos.

This follows the signing of the mandate letter between NPA and Citibank, facilitated by the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF), an export credit agency.

Recall that during its recent budget defense before the House Committee on Ports and Harbours, the NPA had disclosed its pursuit of a N200 billion loan from the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) and the United Kingdom Export Finance to address infrastructural deficits at various ports, complementing other financing efforts to modernise port facilities across the nation.

The Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, announced that the agency is also in talks with additional funding bodies to secure financing for upgrading the Eastern Ports, including Calabar, Warri, Onne, and Rivers Ports, as well as the reconstruction of the Escravos breakwater.

He said the funds are ready and the reconstruction of the Lagos Ports will start soonest even as the NPA perfects 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.

“We furthered discussion with interested parties and reviewed various proposals. We realised it is 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,” he said.

Over the past two years, NPA has recognised the need to rehabilitate and reconstruct ports across the country.

He also noted that the Citibank facility offers the most favourable terms for the Ports Authority due to its affordable interest rates.

Additionally, Bello-Koko said NPA is implementing a Port Community System to enhance trade facilitation.

He said currently, importers and exporters in Nigeria fill up to 30 to 40 forms for one transaction, noting that the Port Community System will reduce the number of forms, human interference and ensure a speedy clearance process in or out of the country.

On her part, the Managing Director of Citibank Nigeria Limited, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, expressed the bank’s commitment to supporting NPA and the federal government in bridging the infrastructure gap.

“We are proud to partner with NPA, not only as the collection bank for port levies in foreign and local currency but also in financing the strategic upgrades of Tin-Can and Apapa Ports,” she stated.

Samuel-Ogbu added that having recently discussed the port upgrading project with the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, the bank is encouraged by his enthusiasm for the project.

She said since NPA generates its foreign revenue, the bank is well-positioned to support foreign facilities from its resources as well as this strategic and significant project for the country.

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