The maritime industry stakeholders who participated in the Nigerian Economic Growth Summit Group (NEGSG) held recently in Lagos have tasked the federal government to address the deficit in maritime transport infrastructure in the country.
They said the Federal Ministry of Transport which was responsible for the development and establishment of a national policy direction for the development of the nation’s entire transportation infrastructure had not done enough to improve maritime industry.
In a paper presentation, chairman of the group and rector, Certified Institute of Shipping of Nigeria (CISN), Professor Alex Okwuashi, said the decision made to develop a masterplan for an Integrated Transportation Infrastructure since 2001 to address various imbalances affecting the entire transportation sector of the nation has not worked out due to poor budget for the industry.
He explained that Nigeria was a notable maritime economy whose potentialities were yet to be fully harnessed, adding that the maritime sub-sector was ranked second to oil in terms of revenue earnings.
Okwuashi, who was represented by CISN’s registrar, Gabriel Eto, saithe imbalances between the resources required for maintaining and renewing the existing maritime infrastructure and the resources available to meet the requirements were overwhelming.
According to him, the vital role of maritime transport infrastructure in enhancing operations in the sector cannot be over emphasized.He said the efficient functioning, productivity and value addition of maritime logistics all depend on the availability of suitable maritime transport infrastructure.
“In order for maritime transportation systems to interact efficiently to provide overall system efficiency, marine infrastructure, tugs, navigation aids, search and rescue facilities, salvage and firefighting support, port security systems, pilotage, bunkering facilities, ports and terminal infrastructure are crucial requirements.
“Hinterland access regime is the responsibility of the port industry. This responsibility is aimed at serving the interest of shipping lines and the hinterland market. According to Abidoye (2009), one of the main features of a friendly port is adequate infrastructure to render efficient services to ship owner, shipper and consignee,” he said.
He stressed that the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) rests on the tripod of growth restoration, investment in people through various social investment programmes and building a globally competitive economy by focusing on critical infrastructure.
The CISN boss added that “Critical national infrastructure refers to processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets, and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic wellbeing of the society, economy and the effective functioning of government.”
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