To achieve a greater level of growth in the country’s maritime sector, there is a need to devise a strategic framework that guarantees innovations and sustainable solutions that could address the problems in the industry.
This was the submission of experts at the fourth edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) Conference, which was held at the University of Lagos recently.
In his speech, Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, Otunbakunle Folarin explained Nigeria’s maritime sector has endowments that can transform the sector into becoming a leader in Africa.
He said: “Nigeria’s maritime domain consists of 932 nautical miles coastline, 12 nautical territorial waters, 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zones, international indigenous shipping average of 5307 vessel calls per year, 572 kilometer inland water ways, 16 functioning ports, 8 littoral states, 28 concessioned terminals and thousands of workforce in the port and maritime industry. This endowment gives us the edge to become the leading light in Africa.
Government and all stakeholders must set a deliberate agenda on how these endowments can be properly harnessed to sustain the growth already achieved in the maritime sector. There is a new economic agenda for the maritime sector. This new agenda can be successfully executed with sustained port reforms and local participation policies.”
Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi which the conference was organized in his honour, said a strong implementation mechanism for its various policies and reforms were necessary to accelerate growth.
Afolabi, who was represented by, Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group, Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye said, “Nigeria’s maritime industry has overtime seen various policies such as the port concessioning reforms, truck standardization policies, cabotage law, maritime safety laws and several others with the sole aim of eliciting growth in the sector. But, may I say that while some of these policies have catapulted the industry to its next level growth, a strong implementation mechanism is strongly needed.”
He further noted that reforms in the sector must go beyond the ports, adding that a holistic approach, including legislation, infrastructure, transportation, security and funding among others, must be adopted.
“I will like to appeal to the Federal Government and its relevant agencies to further fortify the nation’s coastal areas and maritime boundaries against maritime crimes.