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FG plans port dredging, building of new ones

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By Okunloye Abiodun

Nigeria needs to take advantage of the immense potential of the Blue Economy.

Adegboyega Oyetola, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, expressed the government’s intention to enhance the capacity of the country’s ports by initiating dredging operations. This would enable the accommodation of larger vessels. Simultaneously, there are ongoing plans to construct new ports in various regions across the nation. During the budget defence of the ministry held by the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Ports and Harbour, the minister expressed the need for about $1.2 billion to address the deteriorating conditions of the nation’s ports. In accordance with the legislators, he addressed the requirement for Nigeria to exploit the immense potential of the Blue Economy, valued at $1.8 trillion, and enhance revenue generation by focusing on the Maritime sector.

Also, the Minister emphasised the importance of financial support for the dredging of multiple ports to accommodate larger vessels while also expressing worry regarding importers and shippers who neglect national ports and redirect their ships to neighbouring countries. He revealed that there were ongoing discussions between the Ministry, the World Bank, and other relevant parties regarding the deteriorating infrastructure at the Tin Can Inland Port and other ports across the nation. He confirmed that the Ministry is fully committed to integrating technology and implementing the National Single Window policy. Their primary goal is to minimise human involvement and decrease the time spent on cargo clearance at different ports nationwide.

28 States are connected to the country’s water.

In regards to the implementation of scanners at the ports to enhance efficiency, he mentioned that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) management had a favourable stance on their deployment. However, he emphasised the crucial necessity for a change in attitude. In a quest to diminish the country’s annual expenditure of $4 billion on fish imports, the Minister sought Parliament’s backing on the implementation of a Coastal Guard. This initiative aims to enhance safety measures across Ports and propel growth in the fishery sector, thus promoting a thriving Blue Economy industry.

He emphasised the importance of allocating significant funds towards the enhancement of water transportation by dredging waterways, considering that over 28 States have connections to water. The Minister, while discussing the 2023 budget, stated that ₦777 million was set aside for marine-related initiatives, with ₦448,027,468 already utilised by November 2023. In terms of the 2024 budget proposal, he went on to mention that the Ministry put forth a total of ₦10,781,130,916 as the capital budget, alongside an additional sum of ₦191,086,917 allocated for overhead expenditure.

More funds are needed to enhance the sector’s productivity.

Speaking further on the matter, in his observations, he noted that three of the ministries’ agencies, which are NPA, NIMASA, and NSC, operate independently in terms of finance and consistently contribute substantial funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF/TSA). Conversely, the funding sources for the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, and Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) encompass a combination of the Federal Government Budget and internally generated revenue.

The lawmakers voiced their disappointment regarding the rumoured loss of more than ₦1 trillion in revenue as a result of poor infrastructure within the maritime sector. Simultaneously, they also expressed displeasure at the absence of funds allocated in the upcoming 2024 budget for the procurement and implementation of scanners in multiple ports, a crucial step in enhancing its competitiveness. Additionally, they voiced their worries regarding the actions of shippers and importers who deserted Nigerian Ports in favour of berthing at neighbouring countries. Moreover, they discussed a strategic plan aimed at tackling a wide range of obstacles encountered by the industry.

Concerns were raised on the ministry competency and fund administration.

Lastly, the Ministry was questioned regarding the ineffective use of ₦130 million that was allocated for the improvement, usage, and support of eastern ports. People also inquired about the supervision of the navigation channels at Calabar River Port. Additionally, concerns were raised about initiatives such as empowering women in maritime-related activities, celebrating World Seafarers Day and World Women in Maritime International Day, overseeing the establishment of a National Career in Shipping, complying with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and developing Inland Dry Ports. The Ministerial Standing Committee addressed these matters.

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2 months ago

FG plans port dredging, building of new ones. – Nigeria needs to take advantage of the immense potential of the Blue Economy. – Express your point of view.

2 months ago

The government’s focus on port upgrades and new constructions is a positive step for Nigeria’s maritime sector. The push for funds, including from the World Bank, aligns with tapping into the vast potential of our Blue Economy. The proposed Coastal Guard for safety and reducing fish import costs is encouraging. However, concerns about revenue loss, scanner implementation, and industry challenges need urgent attention. Adequate funding, especially for water transportation, is crucial. Lawmakers’ scrutiny and the Ministerial Standing Committee’s actions reflect a necessary accountability in addressing these issues for the benefit of Nigeria.

2 months ago

Water transportation needs sufficient finance, which includes ₦777 million in 2023. We need to give lawmakers’ worries about lost revenue and business obstacles careful consideration.Seeing the government’s dedication to growing our maritime industry is promising. The emphasis on building, enhancing ports, and realizing the promise of the Blue Economy is encouraging.

2 months ago

FG is planning new port construction and port dredging. Nigeria must capitalize on the enormous potential of the Blue Economy, which is essential for a mental shift. In an effort to reduce the nation’s $4 billion yearly expenditure on fish importsThe objective of this effort is to improve safety protocols in all ports and stimulate the fishing industry, hence fostering a vibrant Blue Economy sector.

Adeoye Adegoke
2 months ago

That’s fantastic news! The plans to dredge ports and build new ones in Nigeria show a great initiative by the government. It’s important for Nigeria to tap into the immense potential of the Blue Economy.
The Blue Economy refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, job creation, and environmental sustainability. Nigeria, with its vast coastline and abundant marine resources, has a significant opportunity to harness the potential of the Blue Economy.
By investing in port infrastructure and dredging, Nigeria can enhance its maritime capabilities, improve trade efficiency, and attract more investments. This can lead to the growth of industries such as shipping, fishing, aquaculture, tourism, and offshore energy, creating employment opportunities and boosting the economy.
However, it’s crucial that these developments are carried out in a sustainable manner, taking into consideration the environmental impact and the preservation of marine ecosystems. Balancing economic growth with environmental conservation is key to ensuring the long-term benefits of the Blue Economy.
I’m excited to see Nigeria taking steps towards unlocking the potential of the Blue Economy. It’s a promising path that can bring prosperity and sustainable development to the nation. Let’s hope for successful implementation and positive outcomes for Nigeria’s future. 🌊💼🚢