The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that Nigeria is in dire need of a Maritime Transport policy which will complement the existing National Transport Policy and advance the country’s global maritime trade.
The DG stated this at the opening of the National workshop on Maritime Transport Policy (MTP) organised by NIMASA in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Dr. Peterside noted that the programme is a new phase in the nation’s journey towards effectively maximising the maritime opportunities that abound the sector, especially in line with the Agency’s mandate of promoting and facilitating maritime trade.
According to Dr. Peterside, “you will agree with me that 60% of the cargo headed to West Africa will likely end up in Nigeria; we have not only a long coast but also one of the longest inland waterways; in addition of six active port complexes. All these, coupled with our population, make us the biggest economy in Africa. Therefore, we need a sustainable maritime policy that would guide the coordination of maritime activities as we strive to advance Nigeria’s Global maritime Goal”.
Dr. Peterside also said that as part of the revolution going on in the transport sector, the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is advancing the intermodal transport system by linking all the port complexes to the hinterland via the railway to further facilitate ease of doing business.
The DG however, opined that NIMASA cannot achieve this goal alone, hence the need to seek supports of the IMO and other relevant stakeholders in order to come up with a model to develop a maritime transport policy that will serve Nigeria’s interest and stand the test of time.
In his words, “A workable maritime transport policy of any nation should be stakeholders driven. Therefore all associated stakeholders and professionals in the sector are needed to participate in the articulation and formulation of this policy”, Dakuku said.
In a related development, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, who was represented at the event by the IMO Head, Africa Section, Technical Cooperation Division, Mr. William Azuh, stated that promotion and development of national policies to guide planning, decision making and relevant legislative actions is an important governance practice of many governments, including Nigeria.
According to him, “We will support NIMASA in developing a sustainable maritime transport system reflecting and balancing the interests of stakeholders with a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy, which is crucial in serving as a fundamental guidance document to provide a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the Nigerian maritime sector”, Lim said.
In readiness to support the policy were the Chairmen, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, who was represented by the Committee Deputy, Senator Ahmed Ogembe and his Federal House of representatives counterpart, Hon. Umar Bago, represented by Hon. Solomon Adaelu unequivocally assured of the National Assembly’s support to see to the formulation of the policy.
Other notable stakeholders at the Workshop include the Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas , represented by Rear Admiral Oshinowo, the Nigeria Custom Service, Nigeria Shippers Council, NPA, NIWA, SOAN amonst other stakeholders.
It should be noted that the three-day National Maritime Transport Policy development workshop organized by NIMASA in conjunction with the IMO is designed to equip the Agency and other relevant Stakeholders with technical skills needed for drafting of the National Maritime Transport Policy. The training is expected to focus on the concept, the formulation process and content of such policies. The workshop is also aimed at raising national awareness on the importance of a national maritime transport policy by engaging the representatives of the various Government Ministries/Agencies and other stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue with a view to laying the basis for developing and implementing the policy.