The Managing Director of Goldlink Investment Limited, Sir Tony Anakebe has called on the federal government to ensure that it opens up all the seaports in the country as well as dredge all of them in order to put them in a position to receive bigger vessels and trigger off economic activities in all parts of the country.
Anakebe who made this call in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently noted that government should open up all the channels to enhance importation of goods and services into the country this and even beyond.
He maintained that a lot of ports in the country like the eastern ports; Warri port, Calabar port as well as others should be patronized by all the shipping companies adding that it should also open up all the inland dry ports which according to him, would in turn open up all the business channels in the maritime industry within Nigeria and the West African sub region thereby placing the country in a better position to serve as a hub in the West and Central Africa.
According to him, “My dream for this year is to see that all the ports in Nigeria are 85% viable. So, I advise that the government should instantly divert a lot of cargo to Warri, Onne, Port-Harcourt and Calabar and if possible revitalize inland container terminals like the one in Kaduna and some other places in Nigeria so that even if you are importing from Niger, you can have a transit good from Nigeria to any part of West Africa. I hope that definitely, this will help in making the maritime industry in 2020 a viable option and an IGR hub for the federal government.”
On the planned diversion of vessels to the eastern ports on event of congestion at Lagos ports, Anakebe who is also a chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) had this to say, “There is congestion already in Lagos ports, so diversion of cargoes to the eastern ports is a welcome development. NPA definitely need to push more cargoes to the eastern ports so that people in Lagos and the ports in Lagos will operate freely. There is already congestion with the roads coupled with traffic; we are already in a crisis mood now.
“Even if there are security concerns, I think Nigeria is capable of protecting any ship on its waters. So, that should not deter any government parastatal or shipping company from going into the hinterland. Security concern, definitely, is there but I believe Nigeria has a very competent Navy that can protect or monitor its waters. So, it should not stop them or deter them from sending ships to all those ports.
“If the federal government is determined, as far as they have dredged the Warri port, Onne port and others for bigger ships to berth there, there is nobody, no matter the level of piracy, ships can be escorted by Naval ships and even if they don’ have Naval ship now, Nigeria is capable of securing a wonderful Naval ship to escort any ship to any port in Nigeria. I believe that should not deter the federal government if they really want to open up the ports.”
Photo: MD Goldlink Investment Limited, Sir Tony Anakebe.
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