The Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC), Otunba Kunle Folarin has said that the Council was not working in conflict with anybody or group in the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
Folarin who made this known while fielding questions from journalists on the sideline of a one day roundtable on the maritime sector and the port industry with the theme: Setting Maritime Agenda for the Attainment of 20:20 20 Vision” in Lagos yesterday stated that the Council had kicked off a series of roundtables that would come up with yesterday’s event.
According to him,” Agbakoba’s initiative is quite different from ours. Agbakoba’s initiative is looking at how to reposition some sectors in the maritime industry. Don’t forget there are forty-two sectors in the maritime industry and each of them can lift Nigeria. That is what we have on the table here. We are not working at cross purpose with anybody, we are not working in conflict with anybody. What we have as you heard in my address is a kick-off of a series of roundtables that will come up.
“When we deliver, we are going to follow up and we are going to re-examine what we have and we are going to implement it. Maybe you don’t know now, an implementation and monitoring committee has been set up to deal with the result of the conference”.
On what the conference sought to achieve he said,” A lot, as I said in my welcome address, we are coming from the backdrop of the need to reposition, to refocus the maritime industry. In the last ten to twenty years, we have seen the gradual decline and almost a decade, so what we want to achieve is to refocus the industry within the region. Nigeria is the largest country in the West and Central Africa, it has the largest economic and maritime coastlines, we have seen that we have been able to achieve that. So, that is our goal”.
On why there was no government presence at the conference, the NPCC Chairman disclosed that the act was a deliberate one as the Council did not to involve any government functionary in the conference at that stage adding that the industry knew what it wanted, what was competitive as well as comparatively what Nigeria should be doing and what it was hence the reason they did not want any prejudice in their discussions.
“Secondly, we are giving a roadmap, we are pathfinders, government is government but the industry is the industry. Stakeholders are the owners of the industry, so, we are the only people who can tell government what we need. We are the professionals, we are the practitioners, that is why you find that in that conference, the choice of delegates is deliberate. You have the legal, you have the academia, you have the shipping, you have the logistics, you have everybody that plays a part in the maritime and in the port industry. Yes, that is why we are here”, Folarin stated.
He however assured that the outcome of the conference was not going to go through an intermediary to the government saying that whoever represents the government in Nigeria today would get it.
“So, it is going to be submitted on a fast track. I believe within the next two months, it will be on Mr. President’s table”, he assured.
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