Developing economies are perennially laden with the negative consequences of failed policies, policy summersault, lack of political will to implement and political manipulations leading to truncation of well thought out policies. This is why continuity is important. Policies must not be changed simply because there is a change in government, or change in the leadership of an organization.
Nigeria’s maritime sector has suffered all these problems highlighted above; a setback as a result of frequent changes in the leadership of the key maritime agencies such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), among others.
Speaking during an annual lecture and award giving ceremony organized by Primetime Reporters online newspapers, a former Chairman, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Dr. Chris Asoluka reechoed this problem and advocated longer tenure in office for Chief Executive Officers of maritime agencies for effective sector growth.
According to him, government is always in a hurry to change heads of parastatals which had caused major setback for the industry in terms of infrastructure development.
“We are too much in a hurry in changing heads of parastatals in the industry, we are not saying that people should die in office but longevity is very key. Frequent changes of leaders in agencies cannot help in policy implementation and there no way the political will can succeed when the head of such parastatal is not sure of what will become of him”, he stressed.
He also called for stakeholders’ consensus which could be promoted deliberately in order to get the best out of the performances of each agency in the industry.
The former OGFZA boss noted that longevity create a system of consistency for maritime growth adding that longer stay in office by Chief Executive Officers brings about effective performance.
Asoluka who delivered the lead paper on the theme, “Maritime Sector in Nigeria : Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” predicted that the future of the Nigerian maritime industry is bleak owing to poor infrastructure development and other problems that could have been avoidable if there was more stability in the leadership of key parastatals.
Indeed poor policies and implementation has caused the nation’s maritime sector to suffer traffic-gridlocks on port access roads, inconsistencies in port charges, multiplicity of agencies at the ports, etc. which are hindrances to port operations.
Perhaps, it is time for the Federal Government to make efforts towards ensuring some level of continuity in the leadership of these agencies especially as those who are brought to head these organizations rarely have sufficient maritime experience.