The Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Sealink Investment Limited to develop a Sealink project aimed at enhancing non-oil revenue for the country.
According to managing director of NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello, the project is expected to generate annual revenue of between $500 million and US$1.2 billion from bulk solid minerals exports from the country. He added that the partnership is intended to bridge infrastructure gap that will promote and enhance trade connectivity as well as spur Nigeria’s regional and global trade competitiveness.
“In value terms, it is projected that the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding would promote waterway operations for hinterland, transit and coastal trade, especially for bulk cargo. It is noteworthy to highlight that it is projected that this development would enhance non-oil exports annual revenue receipts to between $500 million and $1.2 billion annually on bulk solid minerals exports,” the NEXIM MD remarked at the signing of the MoU on Friday in Abuja.
Mr. Bello said the project would be catalytic to the realization of one of the priority projects under the ECOWAS Community Development Programmes.
He said NEXIM’s decision was largely informed by the huge logistics challenges and non-tariff measures along the ECOWAS trade corridor. This, coupled with the desire to both enhance Nigeria’s export to ECOWAS that has muted over the years at about 15% and to encourage formal trade.
Mr. Bello said NEXIM strategic interest and partnership in the Regional Sealink Project is to promote and diversify exports as well as enhance trade connectivity in line with government’s objective to diversify the economy. Bello added that effective implementation of the Sealink project will bridge logistics gaps that will attract and facilitate investment flows the two sectors and also contribute to improving Nigeria’s current World Bank ease of doing business and Logistics Performance Index (LPI) rankings.
In her goodwill message, Chairperson of Sealink Implementation Committee Mrs Dabney Shallholma noted that the Sealink is being officially promoted by NEXIM, FEWACCI and Transimex S.A. Cameroun through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the Sealink Promotional Company Ltd (SPCL) with nominal promotional shareholding and sponsorship framework.
The Sealink SPV she said “would soon transmute to a public commercial shipping company with regional and international shareholding structure, the operation of the SPV is being midwife by the Sealink Implementation Committee with strategic operational partnership support of the Sealink Consortium members who are collectively part of the MOU framework.”
The managing director, NIWA, Olorunibe Mamora, in his address lamented that Nigeria’s agricultural produce has been mostly land-locked, while the vast mineral resources have remained mostly untapped, until lately when attention is being paid to solid minerals.
The country’s inland water ways system he said “is underfunded hence we are denied the benefits of the potentials offered, unlike a number of developed nations that have utilised their inland water ways as a main stay for their industrialization and economic process.”
“The realisation of inland water with transportation will not only ensure safer roads but will ensure that the huge sums of money spent on road maintenance can be diverted to other areas of needs including health, education and job creation,” he said.