The Acting Managing Director, Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, subsidiary of SIFAX Group, Alhaji Mohammed Bulangu has urged the federal government to beef up security if the country is to take advantage of the on-going Greenfield seaport development.
Bulangu stated this while delivering a lecture titled: “Greenfield Development: Imperative for Port Development in Africa” at the African Day of Seas and Oceans hosted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos recently.
According to Bulangu, there is an urgent need to find sustainable solutions to various impediments bedeviling the laudable seaport projects in Badagry, Olokola and Lekki.
Bulangu noted that these challenges include unstable government policies, lack of safety and security of funds invested by promoters, comfort of investors not guaranteed and non-provision of adequate measures to ensure continuity, lack of infrastructure, efficient transport system, among others.
He said: “Looking at the port development projects Nigeria is embarking upon now- Greenfield ports at Lekki, the proposed port at Badagry and also the Olokola port on the borders of Ogun and Ondo states, one important missing link that can be observed is accessibility. On the completion of these ports, if some key and fundamental challenges, of which accessibility is the chief, are not addressed, serious environmental and economic issues will arise especially with the Lekki port”.
Bulangu further noted that the challenges are surmountable if the government can guarantee safety and security of lives and investments put into the development of such Greenfield projects, adding that there is an urgent need to deploy adequate security within the country’s territorial waters to check the activities of pirates and sea robbers.
He added that the government should ensure provision of modern infrastructure, integrated transportation system which includes good road network, efficient rail system and revitalization of inland waterways for the movement of persons and goods, attractive incentives for investors, including friendly tax policies and streamlining of operational procedures for smooth service delivery.
With the continued increase in global sea-borne trade and vessel sizes deployed to many routes for economies of scale operation, the need for new ports development with deep draft and large stacking areas for transshipment and transit cargo are becoming imperative.