…Wants government to reverse self on NSDP
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to look out for the best option of growing the nation’s seaports and not necessarily growing the economies of the terminal operators operating in the nation’s seaports.
The acting National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe who made this call in an exclusive interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos recently was assessing the performance of President Buhari in the maritime sector in the last four years.
According to Ndibe, the maritime sector, incidentally, had not fared so well in the last four years as insecurity was still there; piracy, sea robbery among others adding that beyond insecurity, the issue would be seafarers which he said the government had not been able to resolve.
“We just learnt that Nigeria narrowly escaped delisting from IMO Seafarers’ enlistment. Look at even our ports, the congestion level has not abated, the terminal operators threatening to slam congestion charges has not been resolved, the issue with CRFFN and freight forwarders in terms of operational fees has also not abated. These are problems asking for government attention which it has not been able to address.
“Now, if you look at even the concession agreement with Intel in Port-Harcourt which we learnt, probably, NPA is about revoking the license given to Intel and also for the terminal operators in our ports, so, I am looking at, if there were problems with the concession agreement and now they are about to be reviewed, government should be able to look into the sore areas and correct them and then if the current concessionaires are not able to renew the contract, it can be passed on to other concessionaires but if they can have the benefit of first refusal but not that those projects can still be retained in their hands since it has a renewal period.
“So, government should look at the best option which is growing our ports not necessarily growing the economies of the terminal owners. So, with all this challenges, I don’t think the government has also done well in terms of the maritime”, he said.
On the inability of the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to grant approval for the oversee training of the NSDP cadets in the last three years, the National Executive Director had this,” The bottom line is to grow human capital. It depends on the quality of human capital you want to groom, if you don’t have the capacity in terms of infrastructure to provide for learning in order to grow that suitable level of manpower, you can’t give what you don’t have but if at our various levels we can provide at certain levels and then they can complete their courses outside the country, it can be what government can look into.
“But if there is a pool of fund available at the disposal of the Honourable Minister and he chooses to invest it in Nigeria instead of investing it abroad, the critical thing is, has he the infrastructure in place to implement this programme? If he doesn’t have them and you have an expectation of yield from that particular investment, that is the training, are you looking at the yield? If you are looking at the yield, then what are your expectations in terms of output? If it takes you three years to put in place necessary infrastructure to enable you train and you suspend training now, of, course, you will not be able to have expected manpower that will become available to you at the expected period.
“So, my thinking is government can retrace it decision on this. While trying to build capacity, you can also reduce the number of the people you train abroad, use the one that you have reduced to build capacity while you still sustain it so that you are not out entirely in terms of having available manpower to deploy. So, it is a question of two things; is the money available at his disposal? Is he making the right decision? If money is not available for him to dispose, of course, he can’t be discussing that he is stopping it. If the money is no longer available and he doesn’t want to acknowledge that the money is no longer available, it will be inappropriate for him to say he will grow the capacity in-house, since there is no policy direction that will guide his direction in that regard. So, it is still a question that he has to answer”.
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