It is easier to move goods from Nigeria to China than within W’Africa, says Nexim MD

Managing Director of the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Robert Orya, has said that Nigeria will be a major beneficiary of the Sealink initiative when it becomes fully operational.

Orya said the coming of the Sealink is expected to facilitate and promote sales of Nigerian products within and outside Africa, noting that the Sealink Project would be a major step in deepening trade within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region and a significant step in enhancing trade flows of the ECOWAS member-states to create jobs.

Orya lamented that it is more expensive to move goods from Lagos to Accra or Douala, Cameroon, than to move the same goods from China to Nigeria.

“It is less expensive to carry a container from China to Lagos. It costs about $3,500 to move products from Lagos to Douala while it costs about $2,500 to move the same products from China to Lagos. If you want to take goods to Tema ports in Ghana from Nigeria by road, it takes six days with a lot of hassles but if you want to move it by sea, it takes 60 days because you will use European vessels to take the goods to Europe first and then bring it back to Ghana. However, with Sealink, it will take between one and two days.

“So, a quick-win solution for us is to set up a maritime shipping company since most ECOWAS and Central African countries are coastal countries. That way we will liberate our countries and our businessmen and help them to keep the margins of their businesses instead of paying it to European shipping companies,” he said.

Orya said the coming of the Sealink is expected to facilitate and promote sales of Nigerian products within and outside Africa, noting that the Sealink Project would be a major step in deepening trade within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region and a significant step in enhancing trade flows of the ECOWAS member-states to create jobs.

He said other benefits of the project include promotion of increased trade flows and opportunities for the people in the face of huge capital flight from the region through the absence of sea trade infrastructure.

He said when the project is fully completed, it will encourage and enhance the businesses of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) because there will be market for their products outside the country.

Orya said the funding requirement for the regional project which is $60 million, will soon be met as more investors have shown interest, explaining that the project is in line with the transformation agenda of the federal government, which projects investments in roads, railways, inland waterways, ports and airports development in collaboration with various stakeholders to evolve a multimodal, integrated sustainable transport system, adding that emphasis will be on rail and waterways, through an effective Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.


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