Rev. Nicodemus Odollo (Trustee, Shippers Association of Lagos State) I perceived in the spirit that there would be more challenges and more storms against shippers in form of increase in charges. The maritime fortune that the nation is expecting will fail, expected revenue target will fail. Nigeria should expect more international/developed countries confederated conspiracy and sanctions in 2018. Tough time awaits in the maritime.The government needs to change many policies that are against the progress of Nigerians but favour developed nations; looking inward than outward in formulation of policies. Looking and capitalising on Nigeria’s areas of strength, while working to strengthen her weaknesses.
Ayinla Babatunde (Licensed customs agent)
What I expect in 2018 is for the Nigeria Customs Service to unify and centralize the alerts emanating from its commands. Currently we have gate alert, CIU alert, valuation alert, CPC alert, Abuja alert. At the end of the day when your cargo leaves the port, compliance unit and the FOU is waiting for you on the highway. I can categorically tell you that this was how customs could surpass their target in 2017; they succeeded because they arm-twisted the stakeholders.
Another issue that should be seriously looked at this year is the bad roads around the port, we have been crying for the past three years that the deplorable condition of the road is not encouraging, there is no road anywhere especially at Tin Can Island and Coconut axis, palliative measures should be applied pending when the real construction of the roads would start.
Capt Segun Akanbi (Seafarer)
In the year 2018, we look forward to seafarers participation in the maritime sector, seafarers are always sidelined in maritime affairs, so also, in terms of their welfare, they have been abandoned.
We hope that this year, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency would bring Certificate of Competency (COC) preparatory class to Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology in Victoria Island, Lagos.
We look forward for a dedicated Maritime Security Agency apart from the Navy to serve as Coast Guard and to assist the Navy in policing our waterways.
Sunny Nnebe (Chairman, IFFA, PTML chapter)
2018 being a fresh new year, much is expected from the maritime sector. We really need change of leadership as it affects transport ministry generally. Government is expected to come up with reduced rate of duty especially on used vehicles; this will definitely affect revenue earnings as soon as Cotonou port completes her port upgrade. Also, as most custom commands are starting the NISCIS 11, import duties need to be unified. A system whereby different duty rates are being applied by the same Nigeria customs at different commands must be totally discarded. Freight forwarders need to be given their rightful place in the maritime sector as professional stakeholders. . On dilapidated ports access roads, we need competent minister of works and Government needs to inject reasonable funds for the realization of this goal. Also, the board of CRFFN must be made up of professionals who will come up with policies that will move the maritime industry forward.
Paul Ndibe (CILT)
The maritime sector is a huge one so I guess the government should look at the issue of security around our territorial waters. I also expect the government to explore and do more in terms of inland waterways exploration by influencing development between our internal waterways in order to boost our transportation. I will also expect the government to look into issues of either free trade zone or economic trade zone or good offshore zones and all that.
The government should look at a policy that will make Nigeria a maritime hub, instead of having these multiplicities of ports without one of them having a major influence on the development of others or boosting the development on another. The government should look at having a policy maybe national maritime policy that will influence growth in the maritime sector includi9ng ship ownership and manning of the ship in terms of seafarers. I think these are the cardinal areas I will like the government to intervene.
Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa (NARTO)
I am just expecting the government to improve on all the promises they have made so far as regards the ports. They should ensure that the ports access roads are motorable, they should boost transportation and address the problem of the traffic. They should also compel shipping companies to start using the holding bays to receive their empty containers and they should also provide enabling environment for business to thrive at the ports. There is also the issue of artificial traffic gridlock on the roads because during the holiday period the whole road was free and it would have been an opportunity for them to maintain the free movement of vehicles, but because some of them are beneficiaries, they won’t sustain that. So the government has to look into all these things.
Uche Nerus (NAGAFF)
I am expecting the government to have a people-friendly policy this year, so that people will be able to key into the industry. They should also create an enabling environment for business to grow in the sector.
Engineer Matthew Alalade (Merchant Navy)
Our expectation this year is that the minister should reconcile all the differences with the maritime agencies. Now the same executive came and upturns the minister of transport decision on Okerenkoko. Why are they politicising the maritime sector. Our expectation is for them to be one and speak with one voice. The Vice President said that in order to settle the Niger Delta people, he opened the Okeronkoko School back now leaving the ministry of transport out of the whole thing.
The same thing, the minister instituted a committee at MAN, Oron, and the House Committee on Maritime said no, that they do not recognise the committee. Now at MAN, Oron they cannot set common IMO curriculum, they have to go and meet a former Rector in Ghana to do that for them. We are calling on the minister of transportation to give us peace in this sector; we want them to speak with one voice. The minister should also ensure that he engages other stakeholders.