By: Afolabi Oyekunle.
Nigeria’s port reforms of 2006 has allow the private sector to bring noticeable changes in the Maritime sector, but much needs to be done to make the ports desirable for quick transactions and make Nigeria ports to be at par with other ports in the world. This is the submission of a one time Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello who was the Guest Speaker at the 34th Anniversary & Awards ceremony of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, at the Providence Hotel, GRA Ikeja, Lagos.
He said the reform also brought about new technology, citing as an example the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, which introduced technology like the electronic ship entry notice and electronic call up system. This he said contributed a lot towards generating revenue for the Authority which generated 172.3billion naira in the first half of 2022 and remitted 78.5 billion naira to the coffers of the government.
Barrister Bello said the reform also brought about a shift of focus from import to export, inducing barge operation.
On the pains of the port reform, Barrister Hassan Bello observed that efficiency was not optimal as there still exist delays resulting into high cost of doing business, while the ports are still plagued by human contacts which is inimical to transparency.
On the way out, Barrister Bello called on the Federal government to provide conducive operation procedure, ease cost of doing business and help fight corruption that is a stumbling block to the reforms.
He said critical government agencies should be headed by qualified managers, who are able to achieve set goals and meet targets.
Transportation Minister, Engineer Muazu Sambo who said he was pleased to associate with Maran commended the Association for its giant stride in the past 34years of existence through objective and critical reports.
He pledged that the government is focus in seeing to efficiency at the Nigerian ports. The Minister used the occasion to call on the Nigerian Ports Authority to ensure that there is no cargo movement in and out of the new Lekki Deep Sea port unless rail services are provided and also called for emphasis on barge operations to generate jobs.
“There is no reason we should have another Apapa at the Lekki axis.”
In his welcome address, MARAN President, Adegboyega Oni, said the theme of the Anniversary, 16 years of Port Concession: The Pains and the Gains, was critically chosen for stakeholders to analyse and benefit from. He pledged that the Association would continue to be alive to its responsibilities.
The occasion saw awards to many people in the industry. Among those who received awards were, the Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Muazu Sambo: Diamond Award in Recognition of Contributions Towards Nigerian Maritime Industry, Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh: Maritime Man of the Year 2022 , Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, Labour Man of the year 2022, and Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Marine Person of the Decade.