Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has expressed optimism that Apapa gridlock would disappear by the first quarter of 2021.
Bello gave the assurance in Lagos on Friday when he received members of the National Advisory Committee set up by the President on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He assured that the gridlock and other infrastructure challenges that could de-market Nigeria as AfCFTA begins in January 2021 are being tackled to ensure the country benefits in the free trade agreement.
“We have a deficit on infrastructure, issues in rail, road, connectivity between our ports and the hinterland and elsewhere in Africa.
“I am an optimistic person and that is why I want to say that by March, first quarter of 2021, the gridlock in Apapa will disappear.
“This is because we are approaching it in a scientific angle, first we have to make the ports digital and contactless, no need to go to the port to make payment or other transaction, all these will be online.
“This agreement is good but will only favour those who are ready, who are continuously improving on their infrastructure and if I look at the state of our readiness, then we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Co-Champion of the AfCFTA delegation for the transport sector, Funmi Folorunsho, said the visit to the NSC was to seek partnership with the council ahead of the take – off of the AfCFTA.
“The essence of this meeting is to start off an engagement with NSC, to work with them to ensure that Nigeria optimises the potentialities, benefits not just by sitting down but hardwork,” she said.