President Goodluck Jonathan, Monday declared open the 2014 edition of the Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) at the new Expo Centre of the Eko Hotel and suites, Lagos with a commendation for the organizers of the event for their wisdom in choosing the theme to aptly reflect the mood of the nation.
The event which had in attendance the who is who of the Maritime industry was chaired by a former Military President of Nigeria, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
The two leaders who were both represented at the event however showered praise on the organizers of the event.
While President Jonathan was represented by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, Babangida was represented by a former Millitary Administrator of Lagos State, General Raji Rasaki (Rtd).
In his opening address, the President commended the organizers for choosing a theme that conform with the just concluded centenary Celebration of the Nigeria nationhood.
On his part, former President Babangida said showing the enormous potential of Nigeria as a maritime nation is a positive step in the right direction for the country.
Jonathan words, ” this year’s Expo with the theme, “100 years of Maritime Development in Nigeria” is apt and conforms with the centenary celebration” . He continued, “it further gives impetus to consolidate the gains of the 2013 edition.”
Jonathan said that the 2014 event would no doubt complement the efforts and desire of the government in projecting the Maritime sector and further support of the transformation agenda of his administration.
He however disclosed that, to demonstrate government resolve in transforming the maritime industry, his government has resolved to implement the recommendation of the outcome of the Presidential Retreat on the Maritime sector.
“To demonstrate government resolve in transforming the maritime sector, a phased implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Retreat on the maritime sector has commenced with the reintroduction of bunkering service as recommended while other blue print will be considered and approved for implementation on a case by case basis as considered expedient by the government”.
The retired general said that maritime transport opens coastal countries to global market.
Babangida words, “it is not an accident that most developed economies in the world today are all maritime nation, Nigeria is a natural maritime nation endowed with maritime potentials and vast hinterland, the need to strengthen social transport was a priority for my government and this lead to the formation of National Maritime Authority, (NMA) with a view to encourage indigenous operator.”
He continued that the government’s resolve to strengthen the capacity building led to the creation of the the Nigeria institute of Transport Technology in 1986 and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, (MAN) Oron in 1992.
“Government recognizes the importance of Maritime to the economy which led to the creation of Port reform in 2006 and the enactment of the local content law, all directed to improve the maritime sector in Nigeria”,Babannida said.