MAJAN, TPPMC AND MARITIME EXPERTS X-RAY CHALLENGES IN THE SECTOR
The Special Congress of the Powerful Pen Media Chapel,TPPMC,in collaboration with Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria, MAJAN, played host to Maritime intelligentsia and giants ; a session that can be described as very impactful Stakeholders hangout.
BY LOD ONYEJI
In their taciturn best, Stakeholders scored the government agencies and services in the maritime sector averagely low, with empirical facts while commending and encouraging Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria, MAJAN, and TPPMC, to continue with their effective positive strives to creatively enlightening, informing and correcting the annomalies within the sector.
From Nigeria Ports Authority that has created bottle neck which has betrayed the Federal Government’s order on Ease of Doing business and has as well negatively affected import and export business, to Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), that has literally become a toothless bulldog, having failed to create an enabling environment for indigenous ships owners to spring up and also sustain their businesses,then to the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,NIMASA, that has failed to tackle insecurity on our waterways as well as its inability to support positive and innovative ideas except for the recent efforts of the new Director General in the agreement reached with other Countries within the sub region to secure the gulf of Guinea.
Besides,there has been no clear cut idea on how to efficiently manage the Industry, and the unprofessional attitude of the Nigeria Customs Service, who only see meeting revenue targets as an achievement to show off with while relegating trade facilitation which ought to be prime amongst its core values to the background. And to the joint task force on Ports corridors that only extort monies from truck drivers and other ports users. To the Nigeria Inland Waterways Agency, NIWA, who do not know how much revenue they can generate by cleaning up the water ways of the wrecks and recycling them for economic gains, and on the other hand, making our waterways very free and safe for boats and barge operators to ferry through. All had their fair share of the criticisms by Maritime experts.
These agencies whether by commission or omission, have consistently progressed in error undermining the economic growth of Nigeria. And due to lack of collaboration amongst them, each one wants to out shine the other.
The biggest error is that these agencies keep declaring steady increase in revenue generation without adding significant values to the average person in the business Community.
This informed the reason why Stakeholders at the Congress beckoned on Maritime inclined personalities to go into politics and aspire for high political offices so as to influence Government policies on maritime sector, as that will be the only way Nigeria and Nigerians would benefit from the enormous economic gains of the blue economy.
The pressure emanating from bad ports administration keep weakening the business strength of an average business man plying his trade in the Maritime sector as their pains are better imagined than experienced. All these are propelled by Government’s poor policies and wrong attitude towards the challenges around the ports.
The wrong construction of ports access roads , poorly planned coastal roads that would have opened up the ports to be accessed in good time. Untrained personnel who barely have any idea of what the job entails, multiple taxation by agencies of the government, pollution of the Nigeria water ways, lack of data base in Government agencies which has kept personnel in constant retardation as they stick to manual operations and policy misimplimentation.
The discussants at the event called for total review of the sector so as to reposition it for maximum economic benefits.