The Women Agro Processors Agricgen and Exporters Initiative (WAPA-GEIN) has urged the Federal Government to modernise and transform the nation’s ports management system.
The President of WAPA-GEIN, Mrs Esther Adebayo, made the call at the inauguration of the Initiative and National Export Centre, on Thursday, in Abuja.
” I am of the opinion that the Federal Government should not be decongesting the ports in Nigeria, but engage in transforming them.
” This must start with the cleaning up of administrative bottlenecks; most of which are unnecessary with multiple government agencies at the port, high transaction cost, or even plain extortion from illegal taxes, which do not go into the coffers of the government.
“Nigeria should rapidly modernise and transform its ports. Ports are not there for equipment revenue generation. They should be for facilitating business and exports, and stimulating industrial manufacturing, and competitiveness of local business and exports.
” Papers and other documents are to be forwarded on Internet to other country of destination, and according to the sector operators.
“The cost of exporting 100 tonnes of cargoes in Nigeria is 35,000 dollars compared to 4000 dollars in Ghana.
“Today, the leading ports for West Africa are in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic. All these countries have modernised their port management systems, leaving Nigeria far behind,” she said.
She also emphasised the need for the Federal Government to increase the training and employment of extension workers and other supportive services to boost increase in agricultural production.
“We must unleash the potential of the youths of Nigeria. Today, over 75 per cent of the population is under the age of 35.
“More decisive actions are needed to turn this demographic asset into an economic dividend.
“A young productive, youthful population with access to education, skills, social protection, affordable housing, and medical care will power Nigeria’s economy now and well into the future.
“We must move away from the so called youth empowerment programmes. The youth do not need hands out.
“They need investments. Agro business is well loaded with millions of job creation for the youths.”
Adebayo urged state governments to establish farm settlements, clusters of agro producers including women and youths.
She also enjoined the three tiers of government to work together to promote operation “feed yourself” by helping households to access information, and inputs that would encourage them to produce food around their houses to feed their families.
According to her, sustainable household food security is the bedrock of successful export business.
“With sharp focus, relentless execution, fairness, equity, public accountability and transparency, we shall drive for a much better and economically stronger Nigeria.”
Earlier, Dr Funmilola Daudu, the Chairperson, Planning Committee of the event, said the initiative would develop a better agricultural and business management practices.
“This will result in improved competitiveness, productivity, income, gross marginal yields for smallholder farmers and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.”
She stressed the need for increased women potential to participate in high level businesses that could foster high level empowerment, job creation and social development in their communities.
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