Task to exploit the maritime potentials N7trn before the Minister of Transport
If properly harnessed, the Nigerian maritime sector will generate over 7 trillion naira annually and can therefore massively finance the country’s national budget, create more jobs for the youth and act as a hub in East Africa. West and Central. But due to poor regulation, the sector has bled massively over the past few years.
The absence of a strategic maritime economic plan, a failing institutional framework, maritime insecurity, lack of data as well as the Carbotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) retained are the scourge of the national maritime sector.
In addition, non-payment of CVFF to indigenous shipowners caused foreigners to take over the country’s coastal maritime trade, which made local shipowners groan and cease operations.
Furthermore, the inability of the government to change the country’s charter duration from free on board (FOB) to cost, insurance and freight (CIF) despite numerous insurances has also been a blight.
Other aspects of the sector such as the exploitation of the blue economy, automation, the increase in the dwell time of goods, the turnaround time of ships, among others, are factors that oppose the exploitation of Nigeria’s enormous maritime potential.
However, with the appointment of a new Transport Minister, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo and Minister of State, Ademola Adegoroye, stakeholders are optimistic that the fortunes of the maritime sector will change.
The assertion of the stakeholders was based on the fact that with the experience of the new minister of the maritime sector, much will be done.
For example, the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has expressed confidence in the ability of Engr. Sambo and Adegoroye, to realize President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision in the sector.
STOAN President Princess Vicky Haastrup said Sambo’s rich previous work experience in the maritime industry will help her succeed in her new task.
“We are particularly pleased with your appointment given your wealth of work experience and your many nation-building contributions both within and outside the maritime industry.
“With your experience as a former Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, and previous work experience at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Savannah Bank, Allied Bank, NICON Insurance Corporation and as as Chief Executive Lagos Zone, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), where you took your meritorious retirement from public service in 2019; we have no doubt that you will have a significant positive impact as Honorable Minister of Transport,” said declared the president of STOAN.
Furthermore, the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) urged the Minister to ensure the disbursement of the CVFF.
The association spoke through its chairman, Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, urged Sambo to ensure that funds are not allowed to lie fallow as shipping suffers setbacks in Nigeria.
He also expressed his delight that the Minister, who was a maritime industry person with considerable knowledge and experience of operations in the sector, was therefore knowledgeable enough on how to approach the issues.
Stating that industry operators were excited about this rare opportunity, Onyung said the minister, who has the authority to issue the guidelines for the disbursement of the CVFF, should not delay any longer in updating it.
He noted that the minister is like a sprinter who handed over the last stint in a relay race and he must do his best to win the race. In other words, as the current administration has less than 10 months to end, Onyung was of the view that the maritime sector should be given due attention in this short period of time.
The shipowner said that while the development of other departments in the transport sector was equally important, shipping had not received the type and level of attention it deserved, he said. underline. He said the maritime has two major divisions – the maritime transport, which represents 98% and the non-maritime part which represents only 2%.
For this reason, the shipping expert said, Nigeria must see shipping as a low hanging fruit to create wealth and prosperity. The SOAN Chairman asserted that the disbursement of the CVFF will go a long way as a panacea to many problems in the sector and Nigeria’s economy as a whole.
However, industry stakeholders have urged the Minister to ensure that valuable developments and recommendations at industry summits of recent times are promptly considered.
Speaking, the former chief executive of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Adebayo Sarumi, said Sambo is in an advantageous position given the strong developments and commitments spearheaded by his predecessors.
Sarumi, however, emphasized that the implementation of these strategies should be done in collaboration with industry stakeholders to avoid backlash and conflicts following implementation.
His words: “There is a lot of commendable program on the ground at the Department of Transportation. Thus, the new minister should be keen to work in line with the goals and objectives of the previous minister, Rotimi Amaechi performed well during his tenure as transport minister. In fact, he did a terrific job and anyone who is outspoken would attest to that. Thus, there is no need for Sambo to reinvent the will. He can work with the roadmap already in place and collaborate with industry stakeholders to achieve success in various aspects of the transport sector. »
Meanwhile, Sarumi took the opportunity to urge transport agencies such as Shippers’ Council, NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and others to give to the new Minister the support and collaboration necessary to make his administration successful.
“In congratulating this new Minister, I would like to urge him to quickly take note of the many developments recorded in the sector and to implement the useful recommendations in partnership with industry stakeholders. That’s all it takes for the new transport minister to succeed,” he said.