By Ignatius Ushie
The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, has charged Stakeholders’ of the National Maritime Transport Policy Validation Forum for the Eastern region to review the draft policy document with a view to enriching it to meet current realities of our time, adding that she is optimistic that new ideas, innovations and strategies generated at the forum, when inculcated into the draft policy will make the sector compete more favourably in the global market as well as make substantial contributions to the economy and development of Nigeria.
In a statement made available to Transport Day and signed by Director Press in the Ministry, Mr. Eric Ojiekwe, Sen. Saraki, who was represented by the Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Air Commodore, Emmanuel Effedua, at the Stakeholders’ Validation Forum acknowledged that the input of all stakeholders’ in the maritime sector is highly needed in order to produce a policy that will serve as an implementation tool towards fostering sustainable growth of the maritime sector and the country at large. Saraki urged major actors in the sector to “always strive for sustainable solutions that will further offer unique opportunities aimed at charting the desired synergy, collaboration and connective interplay in the sector for maximum economic benefit to the Maritime sector, the national economy and consequently raise the profile of the sector globally”.
The Minister also stated that Nigeria cannot develop without a vibrant National Maritime Transport Policy, hence the need for the Maritime policy whose coming on board will play its rightful role in job creation, revenue generation, foreign exchange earnings and entrepreneurial skills for our growing economy.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, who was also represented by the Director Maritime Safety and Security, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, in her remarks noted that “policy is the bedrock for the development of any nation and sector. Therefore the development of the National Maritime Transport Policy is pivotal to the survival, sustainability and advancement of the Maritime Sector of Nigeria.
Ajani, further expressed her elation at being in the midst of selected policy maker and players in the Maritime sector adding that their presence here will guarantee that their inputs and experiences are incorporated into the existing policy document that will eventually be submitted for approval by the Federal Executive Council.
Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, in his brief remarks said that the National Maritime Transport Policy was first drafted in 2016 but never fully implemented and hoped the fora provides the needed platform to proffer inputs that are not only self seeking for the country but are as well in tandem with implementing and enforcing of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) instruments.
The Chairman, Technical Committee of the National Maritime Transport Policy and Director, Maritime Safety and Security, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, in his closing remarks stated that the Maritime Sub-Sector lacks the most essential facility needed for acceptable planning, projections, strategizing and implementation. These and more, Adalikwu observed has diminished the ability of key players to make substantive impact in the national and global economy. Said he “The Stakeholders’ engagement affords all the opportunity to understand different perspectives, roles and desires of every player in the industry”.
The Stakeholders’ validation forum had in attendance representatives of: the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Zonal Head, South/South and South-East, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding, Uwalaka Ambrose, the Area Comptroller, Nigerian Customs Service, Calabar, the Director Audit, Naval Headquarters, Nigerian Navy, Emmanuel Ogalla, Office of the National Security Adviser and representative of the National Security Adviser, Commodore Adefemi Kayode, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, management and staff of the Ministry, among others.