In the face of dwindling oil revenue, the government of General Muhammadu Buhari should open up the economy by first having a maritime policy. The maritime policy must consider aspect of our resources that can make us big. Nigeria is a maritime country but we never say so. We must start seeing Nigeria as a maritime nation and not an oil producing country or as oil producing country and also a maritime country. Nigeria has a lot of aquatic resources and these resources should b adequately harnessed.
Government should harnessed other related maritime activities like the coastal trade that we do not control, we have about ten thousand foreign ships controlling our coastal trade instead of about ten thousand Nigerian ships controlling our coastal trade but we do not have Nigerian ships so the incoming government should create a maritime bank to support the growth of maritime business in the country.
Also, we should look into our Exclusive Economic Zone, which is about 200 nautical miles, and it assumes we don’t even know it exist that the Asians come and cart away our fish, shrimps and various types of our aquatic resources unhindered.
Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
The coming government should consolidate on the platform and resources put together by the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and LASTMA to ensuring free flow of traffic.
Also, they should ensure that there is a befitting truck terminal for truckers operating at both Tin Can Island Port and Lagos Port Complex. The President, though he is widely known for his hard stance against corruption, should fight the menace to a standstill in the maritime industry. There should also be change in the system of governance in Nigeria.
We believe that the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari will first of all tackle the traffic gridlock on the port access roads especially the Oshodi-Apapa expressway by fixing the roads.
The roads have been a source of nightmare for both Importers and clearing agents over the years. The solution as we all know is providing truck terminals where truck drivers will park their trucks, fixing of potholes and expanding the roads to accommodate the improved numbers of cargo throughput coming into the country.
Aside fixing the dilapidated roads, the government needs to review some policies of the outgoing administration especially the automotive policy on imported used cars.
My expectation from General Muhammadu Buhari is for him to probe the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF). The fund has been shrouded in secrecy for years and it has affected businesses of many of the ship owners.
It was a bailout fund purposely set aside for ship owners to seek funds to buy vessels.
Customs tariff should also be reviewed because there are some items that are beneficial to the Nigerian economy so there should be reduction in the tariff of items that have direct benefit to the masses.
Also the auto policy should be looked into. I also think the coming government should boost non-oil export by paying more attention to people who export goods outside the country for the benefit of our economy.
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