The Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP); Sen. Rabiu Kwakwanso has lamented high level corruption in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other regulatory agencies in the maritime sector.
Kwakwanso, while speaking at a town hall meeting with industry stakeholders, ahead of the 2023 general elections, said high level corruption in the maritime industry has to be tackled to improve productivity.
He expressed that it is his desire to see that the Customs and other regulatory agencies must be made to perform efficiently and effectively, adding that the observed high level corruption in the system has to be tackled to improve the productivity.
The NNPP Presidential candidate further questioned the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) and why it has not been disbursed to beneficiaries.
Kwakwanso, however promised maritime stakeholders at the event that he will place the control of the nation’s maritime sector in the hands of maritime professionals and stakeholders if he wins the 2023 general elections.
According to him, “My being here today is out of personal conviction that the maritime sector is a critical element to the growth, survival and prosperity of Nigeria. Again, anybody who forgets his root will never go far in life. The maritime industry gave birth to our great party, the NNPP; as such I cannot disregard any invitation for whatever reason, coming from the sector.
“So, my being here is largely to listen, appreciate and understand the expectations of maritime operators from me and our party should we eventually emerge winners of the 2023 general elections.
“Though I may not have been fully involved in maritime sector to understand its nitty-gritty, but my experience over the years as a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, former Governor, former Minister of Defence and a former Senator has availed me with some basic understanding of the sector and especially some of its challenges.
“I have listened to this wonderful audience and have noted your expectations. So many things have gone wrong with the industry. I can still remember the days of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL); with its beautiful ships flying Nigeria’s flag across the globe! Why did it die? Why do we not have a replacement as the giant of Africa? What has become of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)? Why has it not been disbursed to beneficiaries? From my little knowledge of the sector, a lot of questions are begging for answers!
“It is also my desire to see that the Customs and other regulatory agencies must be made to perform efficiently and effectively. The observed high level corruption in the system has to be tackled to improve the productivity in the ports.
“Again, it is worthy here to make mention of effective border checks and control to stem the tide of smuggling and its related security implications. Indeed, the entry points of Nigeria shall attract the desired attention of my administration if elected the President.
“In summation, the desired assistance to all importers of goods, manufacturers including exporters and other ancillary stakeholders associated with port operations and management will be guaranteed under our party’s regime, by the special grace of God.
“Under our watch, maritime professionals will take charge of the maritime sector. The operators of the maritime industry know where it pinches the most and certainly have their insider-perspective on how best to revamp the sector.
“We will continue to tap into that insider-knowledge to have a better understanding of the challenges so as to continue to fine-tune our proposed policies.
“In the end, we must all agree that this very important sector must be back on its feet and must be given the chance to support the growth and development of our country in the overall interest of our citizens.” he assured.
Also speaking at the event Otunba Kunle Folarin, the Chairman and the moderator of the event emphasized on the need to have a rescue plan that will put the maritime industry on the front burner while adding that the sector needs a new economic agenda that will help place it among the developed countries of the world.
“Your excellency, please adopt us, because we’re orphans. We need a rescue plan that will put the maritime industry on the surface, and we need a maritime, economic, political and social agenda to do that. When we talk about an action plan, we need one to take us where we ought to be and grow and develop the economy.
“We’re saying that because Nigeria has the biggest maritime potential in the whole of Africa. 54 countries in Africa and none has our population, economy and resources; why are we not utilizing them?
“The previous governments have promised without delivering, and we want to be part of those who will benefit from the size of this economy. 900 nautical miles of coastline, the largest in Africa; 200 exclusive economic zones for fishing, shipping and other maritime activities. We are talking about 10 territorial waters and 572 inland waterways, as well as 10,000km of navigable waterways, which we know His Excellency will be persuaded to develop for us”. he said.
Speaking earlier, the founder of NNPP, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam urged maritime sector operators to have confidence in Kwankwaso’s candidacy, adding that he would compel him to prioritize maritime issues.
He said that it is a perfect time to change Nigeria’s governance approach because there is a total system collapse in the nation.
“The frustrations and hardship is too much. It’s time to change to a new order. Kwankwaso is a presidential candidate who doesn’t have any baggage and what isn’t available in other parties is a chairman who is from maritime. I will compel Kwankwaso to listen and expedite maritime issues”, he assured.
He said that part of the NNPP major focus if elected into power in 2023 would be the maritime sector, where Igbos remained in majority.
According to him, a huge number of Igbos are into import and export of goods and services in the maritime industry, hence the need to support the NNPP presidential candidate.
“My presidential candidate loves Igbo so much. With Kwankwaso, a lot of issues will be resolved,” Aniebonam said.
He said that NNPP was entering into the social contract with the stakeholders to bring about a new order.
Aniebonam said: “It is time for a new order in the maritime sector. We have a presidential candidate that does not have any baggage.
“We have a child of God to provide leadership in this country.”
He said that NNPP had been working quietly and setting up structures to create a new order in the maritime sector and the country.
Aniebonam urged the stakeholders to be part of the journey to the emergence of a new Nigeria and start work from the inside to build a new Nigeria.
“We can no longer operate from the outside, we have to operate from the inside and we have to work for it.
“Hold me responsible on the implementation of the social contract we are having with stakeholders in the maritime sector,” he said.
Kindly like us on Facebook/twitter