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Federal govt to unveil maritime blueprint

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By Abraham Adekunle

Nigerian Ministry of Marine set to overcome maritime industry challenges.

In a significant move towards bolstering the maritime sector and achieving a remarkable $1 trillion economic growth, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Pius Akutah, has unveiled the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy’s upcoming blueprint. This comprehensive strategy aims to address the persistent challenges hindering the maritime industry, as revealed during Akutah’s recent tour of terminal facilities at the Lagos seaports. During the visit, Akutah emphasized that President Bola Tinubu has charged the Ministry with collaborating closely with private stakeholders to tackle obstacles affecting port efficiency, thereby enhancing the overall ease of doing business. The forthcoming policy document is poised to encapsulate critical aspects such as Infrastructure deficits, port facility decay, tariff structures, and the imperative automation of systems to optimize port efficiency.

Akutah highlighted the strategic importance of the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry in the context of the President’s “Renewed Hope Agenda” – an ambitious vision to propel Nigeria’s Economy from half a trillion dollars to a staggering trillion-dollar economy within the current administration’s four-year tenure. He underlined the government’s commitment to rebuilding the entire sector, starting from the marine aspect and extending to the integration of the Blue Economy. “This is a substantial Investment. We are not merely relying on government funding for the sector; rather, we are actively seeking collaboration with the Private Sector. Our objective is to create an enabling environment that encourages significant private sector investments, aligning with the President’s vision,” Akutah declared.

Addressing infrastructure deficit and tackling port facility decay.

Emphasizing the need for a comprehensive restructuring plan, the executive secretary acknowledged that revitalizing the maritime industry requires a joint effort. He acknowledged the complexity of achieving immediate results in enhancing port efficiency but assured that the implemented policies would yield positive outcomes over time. “Efficiency in the port system cannot be achieved overnight. Through collaborative efforts with the private sector and the strategic implementation of our policies, we anticipate significant contributions from the marine and blue economy sectors to the national gross domestic product,” Akutah said.

One of the key challenges facing the maritime industry is the existing infrastructure deficits, impeding the smooth flow of maritime operations. The blueprint aims to comprehensively address this issue by outlining a roadmap for infrastructure development and improvement. This includes the expansion and modernization of existing port facilities, Dredging of water channels, and the Construction of state-of-the-art terminals. Port facility decay has been a persistent issue that has contributed to inefficiencies in cargo handling and processing. The Ministry’s blueprint is set to devise targeted strategies for the refurbishment and maintenance of existing port facilities. This includes investments in advanced technologies and equipment to ensure that ports operate at optimal capacity.

Implementing long-term policies for sustainable growth.

The complexity and inconsistency of tariff structures within the maritime industry have been a source of concern for both stakeholders and Investors. The forthcoming policy document is expected to address this by proposing a transparent and standardized tariff system. This initiative aims to foster a fair and predictable business environment, attracting more investments into the sector. Recognizing the need for technological advancements, the Ministry is placing a significant emphasis on the automation of systems within the maritime industry. The integration of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data analytics will streamline processes, reduce paperwork, and enhance overall efficiency. This move aligns with global trends in maritime operations, ensuring that Nigeria remains competitive on the international stage.

Also, Akutah reiterated the importance of collaboration with the private sector to achieve the transformative goals outlined in the blueprint. The government aims to create a conducive environment that encourages private sector participation through attractive incentives, policy support, and regulatory frameworks that promote transparency and accountability. While acknowledging the time required for the policies to yield substantial results, Akutah emphasized the government’s commitment to implementing measures that ensure sustainable growth in the maritime and blue economy sectors. Long-term planning, continuous assessment, and adaptability to evolving challenges will be integral components of the government’s approach to achieving the $1 trillion Economic Growth target.

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This blueprint unveiling by the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy marks a pivotal moment for the Nigerian maritime industry. The proactive measures outlined in the policy document, addressing infrastructure deficits, port facility decay, tariff structures, and automation, signal a concerted effort to overcome long standing challenges. As the government collaborates with the private sector, the transformative impact of these initiatives is anticipated to not only enhance port efficiency but also contribute significantly to the national gross domestic product, aligning with the broader economic goals of the country.


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