The Minister of State for Transportation, Hon Gbemisola Saraki acknowledged on Thursday that the Nigeria maritime sector lacks robust holistic documentation that contains all the variables with adequate representation of all relevant stakeholders.
The remarks were made as stakeholders gathered to review the Draft National Maritime Transport Policy (NMTP).
Saraki who was represented by the Permanent secretary of the Ministry; Mrs Magdalene Ajani said while the Maritime industry lacked the most essential facility needed for acceptable planning, projections, strategizing and implementation, it has also diminished the ability of key players to make substantive impact in the national and global economy while stating that having a National Transport Policy is the key to development.
She stated that the Federal Ministry of Transportation deemed it fit to develop an acceptable policy document that is nationally and globally accepted with variables of global best practices.
She averred that apart from reviewing and updating the draft policy document for adequate representation of all players in the maritime industry, the stakeholders’ engagement meeting will also provide with the opportunity to understand different perspectives, roles and desires of every player in the industry.
Saraki noted that the maritime sector cannot be administered successfully without a policy document that contains genuine, reliable and updated data that can serve the times and seasons that we are in and even generations to come.
She therefore called for full support of the policy in other to have a maritime industry that is income- generating, self-sufficient, competitive with comparative advantage in the regional and global market.
While assuring that the Ministry is determined to change the narrative in the Maritime sector and do away with the lack of industrial direction that has bedeviled the industry for years and as well limited the performance in the industry.
Speaking also, the Chairman of the National Maritime Transport Policy, Paul Adalikwu noted that the stakeholder’s forum was organized for the development of the National Maritime Transport Policy meant to reposition Nigeria’s maritime sector for better performance.
He said the Maritime Transportation has proven to be one of the critical factors of development at the heart of economic growth and prosperity of any nation, while also noting that the sector also serves as an input into every other industry in the national economy.
He however said while opportunities abound to enhance the contribution made by the maritime environment to sustainable development in the country, the economic potential of the resources in the country is largely underutilized, weakly regulated and relatively unharnessed.
He also noted that the performance of the sector is further constrained by the challenges posed by insecurity, Inadequate infrastructure, bureaucracy, weak laws, corrupt practices, inadequate capital for investment and maintenance of ships, poor incentives for investors, lack of indigenous carrier vessels, sea unworthiness of indigenous vessels where they are available, poor integrated water transport systems; among others.
Furthermore, Adalikwu who is also the Director Safety at the Ministry said in line with International best practices, it is important to adopt an integrated/modem approach taking into consideration the relevant international and regional treaties, SDGs, national laws and Priorities required to meet the needs of the current realities in the maritime sector of the country, while stating that the key goal is to actualize a safe, secure, clean, internationally and domestically competitive maritime sector.