The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed the congestion at ports in Nigeria is forcing farmers to use ports in neighboring countries.
She stated that to address the problem, the government is making plans to ensure easy clearing of goods at the ports.
Ahmed spoke at the budget defence session organized by the House of Representatives committee on Finance on Wednesday.
The minister explained that the connection of rail lines to ports and procurement of scanners will address the challenges.
“On why our ports are not attractive, it’s a very big problem. The port congestion and the unfortunate reality is a lot of importers prefer to go to our neighbors,” she said.
She explained that the rail lines will allow clearing of goods outside the ports.
“The rail line from Lagos to Abuja is also being extended so that containers even before inspection can be taken out of the Apapa ports to some other locations for inspections to be done. This will enable Nigeria to attract its own business,” she said.
Ahmed also explained the decision of the government to borrow funds faster than planned in the budget. She stated that the government borrowed fast in order to disburse funds for capital projects.
“We are borrowing faster than what we had prorated. It was a conscious decision to make sure we have funds early enough to release for the implementation of capital projects,” she stated,” she said.
According to the presentation of the minister, she said the government has borrowed N5.3 trillion as at the end of August, which is N406 billion than the planned borrowing.
The document also revealed that the government has scaled up local borrowings and reduced foreign borrowings.
The government has borrowed N4.5 trillion from local sources and N510 billion from foreign sources.