‘How to diversify economy through sector’s business’
THE Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero and Chief Executive Officer, Sifax Group, Dr Taiwo Afolabi have urged stakeholders to reposition the maritime sector in the interest of Nigeria’s economy.
According to Bayero, there is need for the maritime sector to provide what he identified as formidable alternative to oil and gas in term of revenue generation.
In his goodwill message at the just concluded Nigeria Maritime Expo [NIMAREX 2015], Bayero implored stakeholders in the industry to utilize the full potentials of the industry so as to maximize its benefits, in order to stimulate the nation’s economic grows.
On his part, Afolabi identified ship ownership, improved cargo and passenger volume, reliable utilities, security and war against corruption as some of avenues through which the nation’s maritime industry can be adequately harnessed.
According to Afolabi, there is need for Nigeria to take advantage of the huge economic potentials of the maritime industry in order to contribute more to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Afolabi, who was represented by Major Henry Ajetunmobi, a Director of Sifax Group explained that that the Federal Government and other maritime stakeholders like the industry regulators, government agencies, investors, financiers, operators and other professionals must design a road map that is capable of developing the industry and turn it to a huge revenue earner for the benefit of the country.
Bayero explained that countries like Egypt and Singapore have fully taken advantage of and harnessed their maritime potentials, “to a height that has made them not only high class maritime nations, but, their economy thrive on the revenue from the maritime sector”.
He enjoined stakeholders to look into the problems of Cabotage, Stevedores, Haulage, Seafaring, Inland Container Depots [ICDs], infrastructures and others in the sector and proffer solutions.
Afolabi explained that it was not enough to be contented with the huge natural endowments of long coastline, adding that investors must start financing the acquisition of vessels, particularly Nigerian-flagged ones with the capacity to participate in deep ocean-going international trade.
He explained further that the revamping of public utilities would serve as incentive to current and prospective investors in the industry, adding that improved security that guarantees the safety of persons and goods around maritime assets and a committed war against endemic corruption will jump start development in the nation’s maritime industry.
Another key to development in the industry identified by Afolabi is improved cargo and passenger volume.
He said: “We must begin to take measures now to develop other critical sectors of the economy, particularly in agriculture and optimal exploitation of the vast deposits of our solid mineral and non-oil natural resources, to generate enough cargo that can challenge the present high volume of our import cargo throughput that has given us our present unflattering image as a chronic import-dependent nation.”
On the alleged arbitrary charges by shipping companies and terminal operators, Afolabi called for a cautious approach.
He said: “The issues, no doubt, calls for the wisdom of Solomon as well as random eclectic borrowings from the principles long adopted by other maritime nations, especially those in the advanced world that have made a huge success of privatization in their own ports and terminals.
“But, over and above this, is the need for the economic regulator, acting in full consultation with critical stakeholders, to seek to regulate the industry, with a clearly perceived passion to balance and protect the interests of all parties to avoid crisis.”
While commending the theme of the conference, ‘’Regenerating Economic Growth through the Maritime Sector’’, Bayero said it could not have come at a better time than now in view of the dwindling fortune of Oil and Gas revenue in the world market and the urgent need to identify other alternative revenue sources.
He noted that he was enthusiastic and excited that the conference is holding shortly after his assumption of office as the Managing Director of the Authority, adding that he is optimistic that the conference will emphasize the pivotal role the Maritime Industry is playing in the Nation’s economy.
One of the highlights of the conference was an appreciation award given to the Managing Director by the Chairman of NIMAREX 2015, Planning Committee, Prince Ayorinde Adedoyin.