Nigeria is in dire need of a maritime transport policy which will complement the existing national transport policy and advance the country’s global trade.
This was stated by Dakuku Peterside, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), at the opening of the National Workshop on Maritime Transport Policy (MTP) organized recently by NIMASA in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
According to Peterside, the program is a new phase in the nation’s journey towards maximising maritime opportunities.
On the occasion of the workshop, Peterside said: “60% of the cargo headed to West Africa will likely end up in Nigeria; we have not only a long coast but also one of the longest inland waterways, in addition to six active port complexes. All these, coupled with our population, make us the biggest economy in Africa. Therefore, we need a sustainable maritime policy that would guide the coordination of maritime activities as we strive to advance Nigeria’s global maritime goal.”
As part of the revolution happening in the transport sector, President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is advancing the intermodal transport system by linking all the port complexes to the hinterland via the railway to further facilitate ease of doing business, Peterside added.
However, Peterside pointed out that NIMASA cannot achieve this goal alone. Therefore, there is a need to seek the support of the IMO and other relevant stakeholders in order to come up with a model to develop a maritime transport policy.
“A workable maritime transport policy of any nation should be stakeholders driven. Therefore all associated stakeholders and professionals in the sector are needed to participate in the articulation and formulation of this policy,” as explained by Peterside.
Separately, Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary General, stated that promotion and development of national policies to guide planning, decision making and relevant legislative actions is an important governance practice of many governments, including Nigeria.
“We will support NIMASA in developing a sustainable maritime transport system reflecting and balancing the interests of stakeholders with a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy, which is crucial in serving as a fundamental guidance document to provide a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the Nigerian maritime sector,” Lim said.
The three-day workshop is designed to equip the agency and other relevant stakeholders with technical skills needed for drafting the policy. The training is expected to focus on the concept, the formulation process and content of such policies.
What is more, the workshop is aimed at raising national awareness of the importance of a national maritime transport policy by engaging representatives of the various government ministries and other stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue, according to NIMASA.