Date: February 21, 2024 1:34 am
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to prioritise the maritime industry, as the sector has the potential to surpass the oil and gas industry in terms of revenue generation for the country.
According to a statement from the association on Tuesday, the Chairman of STOAN, Vicky Haastrup, said this when she hosted the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Akutah Ukeyima, in her office in Lagos.
Haastrup reiterated the support of the group in the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government recently said that the Nigerian maritime industry would play a pivotal role in achieving $1tn economic growth by 2027.
In December, the National Assembly said it was targeting a 20 per cent contribution of the maritime sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2024.
The sector contributed less than one per cent to the country’s in the third quarter of 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Haastrup added that the Federal Government’s desire to earn more revenue from the maritime sector could only be achieved through careful and strategic long-term planning.
The STOAN chairman also made a case for the passage of the National Transport Commission Bill, adding that the proposed bill would serve as an independent economic regulator in the transport industry, including maritime, rail, aviation and land transport.
“It is expected to promote competitive market conduct and ensure that the misuse of monopoly or non-transitory market power is prevented in the provision of transport services.
“It will also promote private sector participation in the provision of transport services; ensure that operators and users have equitable access to the use of transport facilities, services, channels and routes,” she said.
She assured the NSC of the association’s support for the transmutation into the NTC when the NTC Bill is passed into law.
“We support the NTC and support the Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s transmutation into the NTC to enable the council to effectively protect the rights and interests of operators and consumers,” she said.
Haastrup stated that terminal operators had addressed multiple challenges associated with cargo-handling operations through substantial private sector investments made at the various terminals.
She maintained that port concessionaires had also increased the efficiency and productivity of the ports, reduced vessel waiting time, and cost of doing business at the port, freed government resources for use in other vital sectors, increased the revenue of government generated through the seaports and created jobs.
“Terminal operators in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority have improved the state of the ports in terms of security, quay and yard infrastructure, productivity and efficiency.
“The efficiency of our ports has improved multiple folds. Vessel waiting time has since been eliminated resulting in significant savings for importers and exporters. The government now generates revenue in trillions of naira,” she remarked.
Earlier, the executive secretary of the shippers’ council commended the terminal operators for their investment at the port, adding that the visit gave him insight into the operations of terminal operators.
He promised to foster collaboration with the operators and provide the atmosphere required for businesses to thrive at the seaports.