WASHINGTON: How can Nigeria become a hub of maritime operations in West and Central Africa? It is by the Federal Government backing the initiative of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to develop new port facilities to compete with others in the sub-regions, say importers’ clearing agents. At a forum in Lagos, their spoke-person and Bolas Motors’ Managing Director Sesan Abolarinwa said it was imperative for the government to promote the maritime industry to benefit from the increasing cargo traffic across the globe.
New facilities, Abolarinwa said, should be designed by the Ministry of Transport to meet the logistics needs of the industry while anticipating the need for future development. He called on the government to help in funding maritime researches, saying the sector lacked in-depth investigation due to poor funding. “The maritime industry has experienced an appreciable development in recent years. That development is set to stay.World trade continues to shift global markets and production lines make new demands on transport systems and on ports in particular.
“Ports serve the national interest, supporting the competitiveness of national and regional economies. It is in the nation’s interest that our ports remain able to handle cargo trade and its potential development efficiently and sustainably.” The maritime industry, Abola-rinwa said, was in dire need of a number of reforms. “New port facilities would help to bring the industry to international standards. The importers lamented that previous administrations, like most practitioners in the maritime industry, did not live by the rules guiding the profession, which they said has resulted in a number of problems in the sector. “The maritime industry requires reforms; reform by way of standardising, educating, informing, sanitising the practice and making it global because the mere mention of the words import and export trade means we are not doing it locally but across borders. Therefore, there are set rules, information and knowledge that operators must possess,” he said.
The Chairman, Tokunbo vehicle importers, Mr Samson Adebari said the maritime industry has project for rapid and sustainable growth. “Based on this development and the strategic position Nigeria occupy in the industry and the sub-region, for the development of human capital for an enhanced economy, it is expected of the government to train our youths to develop interest in maritime education,”Adebar said.