Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, on Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari, had the national determination, to make the Nigerian ports, the hub of maritime activities in the West and Central Africa.
Peterside said this at the on-going Association of African Maritime Administrations Conference, holding at Sharma El Sheikh, Egypt.
Addressing over 2000 delegates and other stakeholders at the conference, the NIMASA helmsman said the geographical location of Nigeria trade lines is favourable and its transformation to a regional maritime hub, he said, cannot be by chance but by having a robust plan, identifying its strength and weakness through the efforts of the Federal Government to take financial risk and invest in infrastructure and technological development.
The Buhari administration, he said, has a long-term, strategic port planning system that will ensure in the next two years that the nation’s sea ports provide adequate capacity to meet the demands of key shipping lines and their alliance partners in sizeable blocks of volume.
This, he said, means the ability of the country to develop deep sea ports, berth all types of ocean going vessels and conduct cargo operations timely and efficiently.
Africa, he said, needs leaders like President Buhari that have strategic vision and viable courage to make bold decisions that will enable the Nigerian sea ports and other ports in Africa to stay ready for the future, be a pacesetter, reap first-mover advantages, and thrive in a dynamic and competitive global maritime business.
Nigeria’s strategic vision for its ports, he said, are being built on the 3 Cs of Connectivity, Capacity, and Competitiveness
African leaders, he said, need to emulate Singapore in taking the right decision and make the necessary investment to develop port infrastructure and technology to boost efficiency and economy.
Peterside said, “Today, we are celebrating Singapore based on the vision of its leaders. And I am also happy to inform you that the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, is doing everything to make the Nigerian ports the hub of maritime activities in the West and Central Africa.
“The Federal Government, through NIMASA, is emulating Singapore and other maritime nations of the world in terms of short, medium and long term planning that will assist the Nigerian ports to compete favourably with other ports across the globe. This example should be emulated by all African countries.”
The maritime time sector forecast released by NIMASA recently and the training of over 2500 seafarers by the agency, he said, were part of the efforts to make the Nigerian ports competitive.
The DG urged African maritime administrators to identify areas where they have comparative advantage, their weaknesses and the opportunities they have to reduce poverty and the high level of unemployment ravaging the content.
Paucity of fund, according to him, cannot, and must not be allowed to delay the growth of the maritime sector in the continent of Africa.
Nigeria and other African countries, he said, must emulate continue to emulate developed countries by investing in technology to bringing innovation and efficiency to our ports.
In allaying the fear of other countries in Africa, Peterside said, “We are not in competition with ourselves, we are not in competition with our neighbouring ports, we are part of the global community, we in competition with the best in the world.”
He urged port administrators in Africa to leverage on technology to make the ports attractive for business.
Representatives of over 35 countries from Africa and beyond and other stakeholders were at the event.