Maritime stakeholders have called for the dredging of the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos.
Mrs. Uju Ifejika, CEO Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, led the call during a stakeholders conference on; “Reforming The Nigerian Maritime Industry” organized by the Federal Ministry of Transport.
Mrs. Uju Ifejika while speaking at the summit lamented that she had been forced to take her cargo to Lome for Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfer as a result of the low draft level of the Lagos ports.
However, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Adebayo Sarumi maintained that the economic benefits were sufficient enough for the government to risk investing colossal sums required to dredge the ports.
Sarumi stressed that the funds generated from the volume of such high capacity vessels would not be able to cover for the finance required to dredge the ports.
Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has asked maritime stakeholders to creatively think of strategies that will grow the Nigerian maritime industry as a viable option to oil and gas.
Also speaking at the event, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who was the Chairman of the opening ceremony noted that most countries that have attained greatness utilized the availability of resources in their maritime environment.
The former President highlighted the opportunities in the Nigeria’s maritime industry to include the vastness of its coastline and huge population, thus, he called on the government to show more commitment by bringing in professionals to assist in running the affairs of the industry in order to make Nigeria a key player of maritime activity in the African region.
Chief Obasanjo also called on the Federal Government to put mechanisms in place to sanitize the sector for greater efficiency and productivity to ensure that Nigeria does not give the “change” mantra a bad name.
On his part, the Minster of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to revive the National Shipping Line without government equity contribution to be solely managed by the private sector.
The Minister identified corruption as one of the things bedeviling the growth of the maritime sector and he noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is determined to stamp out corruption in all sectors of the nation’s economy.