The Federal Government has said that it is targeting a top 70 ranking in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index by 2023, having moved up 39 places between 2016 and 2019, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said.
Mustapha said this at the Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos weekend.
The SGF commended NIMASA for the various trade facilitation and administrative improvements it initiated, which also aided the ranking.
He noted that having moved from 170 since the inauguration of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in 2016 to 131 in 2019, a first 70 ranking was achievable by 2023.
“In our bid to improve efficiency and productivity in the maritime industry and the country at large, the PEBEC was created to ensure an enabling environment for port efficiency. Government will continue to support the maritime sector because on it rests opportunities for wealth creation and economic growth,” he said.
On his part, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said with a developed transport sector, there will be increased productivity, which comes with creation of more jobs and production of more goods and services. All these will make the economy more competitive, reduce dependence on oil, and usher in economic growth.
“We are aware that transportation is key in any economic development plan. The major elements of production – raw materials, machines, people, finished products, etc. – have to be seamlessly moved from one point to the other as the need arises.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari government is implementing a transport policy, which entails linking all seaports in the country by rail, in line with global best practices. All over the world, the most efficient way to transport heavy cargo is by water and rail.
“We have a 25-year rail modernisation programme, involving the development of a comprehensive intermodal system. We are taking the rail from where the past governments stopped to the seaports. The Lagos-Kano rail line, which began from Ebute Metta, is being taken from Ebute Metta to Apapa seaport.
“We will take it from Tin Can and Apapa to connect the new Lekki port. The rail line from Lagos to Calabar links Port Harcourt, Onne, and Warri seaports. Our goal is to have a system where importers would bring in their goods and load them on the rail that takes them to the hinterland, thus, easing the pressure on the roads and increasing their longevity,” Amaechi said.
Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, said the agency remitted N16 billion into the nation’s consolidated revenue account in 2019.
He listed other achievements by the agency to include improved ship registry, increased ship tonnage, and the publication of an annual maritime forecast.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of long service awards to some staff of NIMASA and corporate awards to some maritime companies.
APM Terminals Apapa emerged as the Most Compliant ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) Onshore Facility for 2019 while Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) won the award of Best Terminal/Jettty Operator.
Other awards include GAC Shipping Company (Overall Shipping Company award), Total E&P (Most Compliant ISPS Offshore Facility), Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron (Best Maritime Training Institution), West African Ventures (Best Shipping Company – Marine Environment Management), Awaritse Nig. Ltd (Best Cabotage Operator), and Sea Navigation Int’l Ltd (Company with Largest Combined Tonnage).