The Federal Government has resolved to partner with the private sector in promoting and projecting opportunities that abound in the maritime industry, Sen. Idris Umar, the Minister of Transport has said.
Umar, represented by Mr Nebolisa Emodi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, said this in Abuja on Monday at the Fifth Nigeria International Maritime Ports and Terminals Conference and Expo (NIMPORT 2012).
He said the government planned to partner the private sector and some state governments to develop deep seaports in the country.
Umar listed the ports as the Lekki seaport in Lagos, Badagry deep seaport also in Lagos, Ibaka deep seaport in Akwa Ibom and Olokola deep seaport in Ogun/Ondo states.
He said some river ports were also being developed at Baro in Niger, Oguta in Imo and Jamata in Kogi, while the Onitsha port, which has been completed and equipped, would be inaugurated soon.
``Contract for the dredging of River Benue is in the process of being awarded as well as the construction of the Makurdi River port,’’ he said.
The minister expressed satisfaction with private sector’s commitment to improving international maritime trade not only in terms of investments but also organisation of conferences and exhibition of the latest technology in the marine industry.
He noted some of the achievements recorded in the maritime industry as the sustenance of the concession of seaports to 26 terminal operators, ``which has improved cargo tonnage and 24 hours port operation’’.
Others are rehabilitation of ports access roads, deepening of channels to major ports, rehabilitation of old port in Warri and development of Onne port Phase four.
Mr Fortune Idu, the Managing Director, FCI International Ltd, organisers of the conference, said it was imperative to promote maritime activities for greater participation of local and foreign investors.
Idu said the transformation agenda of the Federal Government would require greater involvement of the maritime sector as the driver of the international trade and wealth creation.
He, however, appealed to the government to intensify effort in checking all nefarious activities including water insecurity, pollution, importation of bad items and piracy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the three-day conference is ``Maritime: Key to Economic Transformation’’.