By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) is targeting $1.2 billion annual exports through its Sealink project.

The bank signed a Sealink Project Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard with Transimex S.A. Cameroun through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the Sealink Promotional Company Ltd (SPCL) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) recently  in Abuja.

The MoU would promote waterway operations for hinterland, transit and coastal trade, especially for bulk cargo, NEXIM’s Managing Director, Mr. Abba Bello, said at the signing ceremony.

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Banking hall

He stated: “The effective implementation of the Sealink project and the safe utilization of the inland waterways would bridge logistics gaps that will attract and facilitate investment flows into the shipping and solid minerals sectors.

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“It will contribute to the realization of one of the broad strategic objectives of government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is building a globally competitive economy.

“It will also contribute to improving Nigeria’s current World Bank Ease of Doing business and Logistics Performance Index (LPI) rankings.”

Bello    described the project as “a novel public-private partnership framework, which is primarily designed to attract private sector investments under government agencies facilitative support at no cost to government,” adding, “it is intended to bridge infrastructure gap that will promote and enhance trade connectivity as well as spur Nigeria’s regional and global trade competitiveness.”

Also, speaking,  the Chairperson of Sealink Implementation Committee, Mrs.    Dabney Shallholma, noted that 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.

According to her, the Sealink SPV    “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 of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Olorunibe Mamora,   in his address lamented that Nigeria’s agricultural produce has been mostly land-locked, while the vast mineral resources remained mostly untapped.

The country’s inland water ways system he said was underfunded, therefore, denying the nation, the benefits of inland water transportations,.

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