By Fabian Anawo
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Mu’azu Sambo says the Federal Government is committed to ensuring an end to road haulage of petroleum products and cement.
He gave the assurance at the thirty-fourth anniversary celebration of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria in Lagos.
This, according to him is why government is committed to linking the ports with rails.
He said that government was taking steps to ensure that the nuisance at the Apapa and Tin-Can Port is not replicated at the Lekki Deep Port.
To this end, he said that he has instructed the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority to ensure that cargos from the ports are not transported by road.
He said that policies that would boost the development of the Port Community System were being developed to decongest the ports.
He said that government has embarked on many projects like the Deep Blue See Project to ensure that the country’s coastal waters are safe.
According to him, since the beginning of the project, there has not been any pirate attack on Nigeria’s territorial water saying that if the success is sustained in 2023 and 2024, Nigeria’s name will be removed from the list of high risk Maritime countries, which will inturn reduce the amount of insurance and cost of doing business.
A former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who delivered the Anniversary Lecture titled “Sixteen years of Ports Concession: the Pains and the Gains,” said that the concessions of the ports were good reforms for country.
He said that it brought positive development in the Maritime sector such as improved ease of doing business, digitalization and enhance competitiveness.
Though, he pointed out that the concessions were shrouded in secrecy as they were executed without first consulting the stakeholders.
However, he advised that the concessions should be reviewed in line with the current happenings in international trade and commerce.
He urged government to continue with the Port reforms as there should be no going back saying that the outcome has been positive.
Mr. Bello acknowledged that the
challenges are vast and varied but the prospects are enticing, hence the reforms should have been extended to businesses that relate and depended on Maritime, for it to have the desired effects.
A representative of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, Dr. Bolaji Akinola, said that the concessions brought about good pay for dock workers.
He said that for a better impact, ancillary challenges such as clearing processes and infrastructure issues should be addressed.
However, he said that the pains of the concession was the fact that people lost their jobs, and that the pains can be ameliorate if those who were affected are well compensated.
In an address of welcome, a former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Ade Dosumu who Chaired the occasion, applauded MARAN for their contributions in the maritime sector.
Dr. Dosumu, appealed to Heads of Agencies, Terminal Operators and other stakeholders to train journalists covering the sector.
He said that the Maritime Press is responsible for the improved growth in the sector and that the sector would be better if it also invested in the training of Maritime journalists.
The high point of the celebration was the presentation of Awards to personalities and institutions that have contributed greatly to the growth of the Maritime sector.
The Awards recipients include, the Minister, the DG NIMASA, Chairman, NDLEA and some individuals Princess Vicky Haastrup, and Dr Taiwo Afolabi, Boniface Aneibonam.