The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has assured stakeholders of the Federal Government’s resolve to reposition the maritime sector for greater efficiency and competitiveness.
The Minister who stated this during the celebration of the 2016 World Maritime Day with the theme “Shipping, Indispensable to the World” held in Lagos also acknowledged the fact that the maritime industry in Nigeria was faced with myriad of challenges bothering on; non-competitiveness, low level of investment, absence of requisite funding, low implementation and enforcement of existing laws amongst others.
However, he assured that the government was bringing up a robust strategy that would address the challenges that may hinder the growth of the sector.
“As part of a comprehensive action to address these challenges and ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness of the shipping industry, a number of measures are being put in place, including the privatization of the nation’s ports, while various regulatory agencies are being repositioned for effective service delivery”, the Minister said.
Hon. Amaechi also said that the Transport Sector Reform Bills currently before the National Assembly were receiving legislative consideration and it was hoped that the expeditious passage of the bills would give effect to the proposed reform aimed at strengthening the relevant maritime agencies for effective performance.
The Minister informed the gathering that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a robust maritime security plan and assured stakeholders that this would bring to an end all forms of illegalities on the nation’s waterways.
While discussing the paper presented by Captain Adamu Biu on “Growth and Development of Shipping Industry in Nigeria: Creating Enabling Environment”, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that the agency had already begun the process of repositioning the agency through its Medium Term Strategic Growth Plan built around the Management’s vision of Reforming, Restructuring and Repositioning the agency towards the growth and development of the maritime sector.
According to him, “there must be a long term strategy on our policy framework and its implementation. NIMASA as an agency has already drawn up its own Medium Term Policy to engender higher efficiency and productivity”, the DG stated.
Dr. Peterside who noted that the dearth of human in the maritime industry was a global phenomenon however assured stakeholders that NIMASA was committed to building the requisite manpower through adequate training and thanked the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) for accepting to provide 100 sea time berths for cadets of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in a phased programme.
The NIMASA DG also said that in achieving a competitive maritime sector, security was a very key factor and as such the agency has revisited its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Navy and other relevant agencies to ensure safety and security in the maritime domain.
Present at the event were Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT), Mr. Sabiu Zakari, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Usman, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Barrister Hassan Bello, Chief Adebayo Sarumi amongst several other Industry Stakeholders.
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