By Chinonye Anyatonwu
From left: Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko presents a plaque to Director General, SON, Farouk Salim during a visit of the SON management to NPA headquarters,
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), have agreed to collaborate in order to boost the country’s non-oil export drive as well as check the influx of fake and substandard goods into the country.
The Director General of the SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, who led the top management of the organisation on a working visit to NPA Headquarters solicited the cooperation and support of the NPA towards ridding the country of fake and substandard products, which he said are inimical to the growth and development of the country as well as the wellbeing of the citizens.
He noted that it has become necessary and expedient for relevant stakeholders in the port industry to join hands with the organisation in the fight against fake and substandard goods illegally imported mostly from Asia and other parts of the world, which are destroying the local industry as well as posing a serious threat to the safety of the citizens.
Mallam Salim, who commended the current management of the NPA for the various reforms it is carrying out across all the nation’s seaports through infrastructural upgrade, which, according to him remains vital in making the ports efficient and competitive.
In his response, the Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, who played host to the visiting team, pledged its support towards the fight against fake and substandard products in the country, which he said was a course that must be supported by all in the overall interest of the economy.
He noted that the NPA was doing everything in its powers to boost non-oil exports, especially agro and allied products in line with the Federal Government’s economic diversification policy geared towards increased foreign exchange earnings and checking the over-dependence on crude oil export.
Bello Koko reiterated the decision of NPA to dedicate some port terminals exclusively for the handling and packaging of non-oil export products for shipment abroad to avoid delays, assuring that plans are on to dedicate more terminals across all port locations to facilitate ease of handling the country’s export cargo.
He also urged SON to key into the authority’s vision of automating the seaport systems, including cargo operations and harbour services with the introduction of the Port Community System being put in place in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
He commended the SON’s leadership for piloting various initiatives to reposition the organisation in order to achieve its statutory mandate.
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