The federal government said there are plans in motion to launch a road map for the Marine and Blue Economy Sector, acknowledging that charting a policy agenda for the sector is critical to transforming the sector into the best in class, regionally and internationally.
Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, who stated this as a panel discussant at the 29th session of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), with the main theme: “Pathways to Sustainable Economic Transformation and Inclusion”.
Head of press of the ministry, Olujimi Oyetomi said in a statement that the minister acknowledged the timeliness of the summit assuring that outcome of innovative ideas, deliberations and proffered suggestions will be considered with focus on developing Nigeria into a hub of maritime trade and ancillary services in Africa.
According to him, “Tonight’s session is the latest in our consultation with industry stakeholders, the Maritime and the Blue Economy sector. We understand the critical role the maritime sector plays in enabling business in an import dependent economy, such as ours. It is imperative that we move more quickly towards improving the navigability of our waters, engage the draught of our ports, achieve 24 hours cargo clearance, and ensure adequate connectivity of our ports to hinterlands with efficient road and rail networks.
“Challenges of the maritime sector are well known and documented, slow pace of legislative reforms and weak sector governance to infrastructure deficits, inefficient Port management, poor road network, multimodal facilities, the dominance of foreign shipping companies, non – competitiveness of our ports compared to our West African neighbours, port inefficiency and congestion and other malpractices.”
Projecting the ministry’s directive in the next four years, the minister stated that it is imperative that the ministry having identified these inhibitors, works towards improving the navigability of our waters, engage the draught of our ports, achieve 24 hours cargo clearance, and ensure adequate connectivity of our ports to hinterlands with efficient road and rail network creation. We seek to introduce new business models that can ultimately develop our capabilities and ensure the continual dredging of our inland waterways.
Speaking further, the Marine and Blue Economy minister disclosed his resolve to get presidential endorsement of the use of scanners in port operations in the country.
According to him, all over the world, seaports have gone digital, and digitalization is mainly used to drive efficiency and remove human contacts that are usually very slow and breed corruption.