There have been cacophonies of voices as to how the government can revive the dwindling fortune of the maritime industry and how to also fathom the way forward because the amount of information at one’s disposal determines the level of success that can be achieved.
There are several areas in the sector that have suffered neglect through which the government can create jobs and expand the sector to serve as a competing sector with oil and gas in terms of revenue accrual to the Federal Government.
Recently, many good heads whose lives and businesses are definitions of success in the maritime industry gathered at the Eko Hotel and Towers at the colloquium organized to honour one of the successful people who have passed through the sector and whose print on the sand of the industry cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
At the gathering, many measures were suggested which if religiously followed, will help not just to alleviate the problems but will greatly improve the standard of operation in the sector in the quest to becoming the nation’s favourite.
Among the chief speakers at the gathering is the Secretary, Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Ports State Control (MoU), Mrs. Mfon Usoro. From her wealth of experience as one time Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), she suggested that if there could be a synergy among the critical stakeholders, the industry is bound to become more vibrant than it is at the moment.
She called for a close rank among the well meaning groups in the industry in order to surmount the problems plaguing the industry.
As one who has seen it all, she knows that the major problem robbing the sector of its glory is lack of synergy and necessary legal frameworks which is the only compass that can give the desired direction to the sector.
Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi blamed the dearth in the fishing industry on the lesser attention given its potentials by the government. According to her, the fishing business has taken flight to other countries.
The Executive Vice chairman of ENL Consortium, and Chairperson of the Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup argued that bad roads is the bane of dwindling fortune of business in the port, thereby calling on the government to do the needful so that the business in the port can thrive as it should be. She enjoined all stakeholders to rise to the occasion because of the adverse effect it has on the area as it has led to several persons and business concerns to suffer tremendous loss in both human and investment.
The state of the road has both health and security implications on the people; she appealed to the government of the day to come to the rescue of stakeholders and residents.
The need for stakeholders to come together is critical to the growth and development of the sector.
However, the amount of information available to someone is germane to the success achievable from one’s profession or endeavor in life. Likewise, the quantum of right information at the disposal of the government in running its affairs determines the success of such government.
On his own, one of the towering figures at the gathering, Senator Muniru Muse appealed to the press to continually draw the attention of the Government to any ill development that can mar the profound effort to see that the sector is revived to meet up with the standard practice across the world. This constant reminder he believes will help to prick the conscience of anyone involved in any malady.
Speaking further, he said if the poor state of the roads is given headlines in their news reportage, it will help to reduce the rate of decadence experienced in the port.
The government has been advised to engage critical stakeholders in the decision making in the maritime industry. The reason for this is not far-fetched as they have good working and environmental knowledge and the operational knowledge of the industry.
Prof. Bamidele Badejo said involving stakeholders in the affairs of the industry will help the government to find out the grey and important areas where the industry’s problem can easily be tackled.
He pointed out that tanker drivers who are part of the menace on the road had to find a way of resolving the problems on the ground.
Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) pointed out that Chief Adebayo Sarumi under whose time as the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, the port was concessioned, should hold not think of retiring because of his good works during his time as the MD.
He however enjoined stakeholders to tap from his wealth of experience and to always consult him for issues that bother on the port operations.
It is important to note that the good things said about the former MD of NPA was borne out of his hard work and focus during his time.
This is the argument of a former Manager of Apapa Port Complex, Joshua Asanga who also doubled as the PA to Sarumi at that time as he said Sarumi’s achievement and the accolades received after retirement was as a result of his responsibility, dedication and an iron-cast will to succeed in whichever endeavor he set his eyes on.
He said that the man had paid his due and relied on long years of experience gathered through hard work and commitment.
Having said all these, there cannot be a substantial achievement where there is no synergy among the stakeholders whose influence and wealth of experience can be of great assistance to the industry. In the maritime industry, this synergy is conspicuously missing hence creating a big gulf in the sector.
It is hoped that anytime soon, the government will become sensitive to bringing people that matter in a sector together to facilitate commendable growth and development. The earlier this happens, the better so as to get things on the right track.
Policy making is good but it is better implemented by those who wear the shoes and know they pinch.