The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Miami Dade’s county Florida, United States of America (USA) have agreed to work together to improve trade relations between Nigeria and the USA.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting with the business delegation of Miami Dade’s county yesterday in Lagos, Managing Director, NPA Hadiza Bala Usman said the Nigerian government values the contributions of the economic and trade agenda of the US and recognises the importance of sound trade relations with Nigeria.
She said NPA had in 2001 signed a memorandum of understanding with the port of Miami-Dade Florida as part of effort to promote the relationships and advantages of doing business as sister seaports.
Represented by the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Prof. Abubakar Idris, Bala said the federal government is determined to develop the Nigerian port to handle increase volume of export and import that will result from implementation of its economic development programmes.
“This anticipation is drawn from the purpose of this trade mission which is to engage and foster bilateral trade, commercial ties, maritime services and technical exchanges between the port of Miami and the African ports.
“From Nigeria’s point of view, this trade forum is an important means through which to highlight the capabilities of the port system and the diversity of trade and investment opportunities inherent in Nigeria that will benefit the US and the port of Miami in particular.
“Nigeria’s commercial relations with the USA go back over several years. As at 2015, Nigeria was USA 60th largest goods trading partner with $5.3billion in total. Goods exports totalled $3.4billion; goods imports totalled $1.9billion. The US goods trade surplus with Nigeria was $1.5billion,” she said.
The NPA boss added that the new relationship will further expand bilateral trade opportunities and enhance the scope for Nigeria and the USA to work together more closely to promote a mutually beneficial trade framework.
Also speaking, Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Ahmed Sanni Yerima urged investors to take advantage of the viability in Nigeria ports to invest in the sector.
He disclosed that the senate has passed the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority (NPHA) Bill and was on the verge of enacting the National Transport Commission (NTC) law as an independent multimodal transport sector regulator.
Yerima who was represented by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege stated that for a more efficient maritime sector and maintenance of global shipping standards, the NASS has consistently raised the bar with good laws.
“The Senate moved boldly to further re-engineer our maritime sector by passing the NPHA Bill to promote responsible and globally competitive shipping operations in Nigeria. We are also at the verge of enacting an Act to establish the game changing NTC as an independent multimodal transport sector regulator.
“These laws are designed to give comfort to investors in line wit the policies of President Mohammadu Buhari.
“We encourage this August audience to confidently join us as our nation ties concrete steps through our great team of leaders at the NPA to tap our vast maritime opportunities. Added to the wonderful works of the NIMASA, we are confident that we are on the right tract as a nation in our maritime industry,” he said.
In her remarks, leader of the US delegation, Audrey Edmondson said thay the visit to Nigeria would yield results for the port of Miami and the United States in terms of direct commercial ties.
“I am using this opportunity to invite the Nigerian business community to Miami-Dade, we want to do business with you, we want to do business with Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa” she said.
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