Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, Honourable Patrick Asadu (PDP-Enugu) on Tuesday in Abuja, declared that the country’s maritime sector has the potentials to generate about N8 trillion annually.
Asadu, who said this at the an interactive session the House committee had with heads of agencies and parastatals of the ministry of transport, added that the maritime sector can become a veritable source of revenue for the country based on the potentials that abound within the sector.
He said that “I believe without doubt that the Nigerian maritime industry has the potential to contribute largely to the economy of Nigeria in terms of economic growth which will naturally translate to a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the country.
“Whereas, the national budget of our country is about N4 trillion, it has been projected that the maritime sector alone can contribute up to N7-8trillion annually to the economy.
“The maritime sector therefore can become a veritable source of revenue even exceeding oil and gas,’’ Asadu added, and called for improved efforts to reform the country’s ports.
“There are huge rooms for improvement and we must diligently work towards ports’ reform, improved cargo handling and better turn-around time by the agencies”, Asadu said.
He assured that the committee will intervene where concession reforms were executed in breach of existing laws, just as he restated the need to review existing laws and policies regulating the maritime sector as well as improvement of infrastructural facilities and the entrenchment of international best practices.
The lawmaker said the committee will reforms scrutunize areas such as as pre-shipment inspection, government and privately owned jetties, shippers’ interests, freight forwarding and clearing, port regulation, compliance with safety procedures, acquisition of shipping technology, sustainable development of maritime resources, improvement of maritime labour relations, and compliance with provisions of international maritime conventions and code to engender the best and legal framework for the Nigerian maritime sector.
Speaking, Director-General of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Omar Suleiman canvassed for the speedy passage of the proposed Ports and Harbour Authority Bill pending before the National Assembly.
He said that the speedy passage of the bill was crucial in boosting the efficiency of ports operation and enhancing revenue generation for the organization.