The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has called for an appropriate regulatory framework to scale-up investors’ confidence in the maritime sector.
Mustapha made the call during the Stakeholders’ Appreciation Night organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Lagos on Thursday.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr Gabriel Aduda, said regulatory framework was a key element in the transport sector.
According to him, the transport industry sector reform should unbundle the existing tripartite roles of public agencies; as investors, operators and regulators create robust resources for the maritime industry.
“The benefits of Multi-Service Regulations in a growing economy like Nigeria, among others, include the following: economics of scale; sharing of fixed costs; and other resources.
“The benefits of regulation also include building expertise in cross-cutting regulatory issues such as tariff adjustment, rules and competition and smart inter-modal regulations that will reduce over-dependence on one sector,’’ Mustapha said.
He said that a robust intermodal regulation should cover rail, water and land transportation, saying that the regulation should also promote effective competition and economic efficiency.
Mustapha said that there was need to enhance safety standards and at the same time preserve the environment.
He said that the National Assembly had passed the National Transport Commission Bill earlier this year but government was sorting out some technicalities and use of language that would border on overlap of functions with other agencies and be clearly delineated.
The Secretary to the Federal Government said that as soon as that is sorted, “we should have a befitting law for the good of the whole’’.
He said that the executive was committed to playing its role in the passage of the bill into law.
Mustapha said that the fundamental goal of Nigeria’s transport policy was to develop an adequate, safe, environmentally-sound and efficient transport system in the context of a progressive and competitive economy.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Board of Directors, NSC, Mr Mai-Mala Munu, commended the stakeholders for cooperating with the stakeholders in the maritime sector of the Nigerian economy.
Munu, who was represented by a Board Member of the NSC, Mr Seyi Oduntan, said that the providers and the users of the shipping services should ensure a level-playing field for stakeholders in the sector.
He said that the NSC encouraged hard work and expressed concern about the constant congestion on the port access road.
Munu said that the occasion was aimed at appreciating stakeholders’ perseverance in continuing their shipping business in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Appreciation Night Committee, Mr Monsur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that manufacturers were recognised internationally because trade played a major role in economies around the world.
Ahmed said that shipping was a key pillar of the maritime industry, noting that 90 per cent of the global trade was being conducted through shipping.
He said that Nigeria had not been able to tap all the benefits in the transportation system due to lack of favourable policies.
A former Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, commended the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, for his commitment toward the maritime industry.
According to him, Amaechi understands the rudiments and challenges in the transport sector and provided prompt solutions in all aspects of the transportation system in the country.
Sarumi commended the NSC on his move toward making transforming to the National Transport Commission (NTC) for effective delivery of its statutory responsibilities.
Also speaking, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, commended the NSC for making tremendous improvements in discharging its responsibilities.
He also commended the council for making efforts to ensure the Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) kick off to reduce constant gridlock on the Apapa ports access road.
The Acting Director General, Ghana Ports, Mr Michael Luguje, appreciated Nigeria for giving him the opportunity to benefit from the various workshops organised by Nigerian maritime government agencies.
Luguje said that the Ghana Shippers’Council was still tapping administrative ideas from the NSC, saying that Ghana would continue to collaborate with Nigeria to achieve all the potential in the industry.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, emphasised the need for all the players in the maritime industry to work together to enable Nigeria attain the status of a preferred destination.
Bello commended other government agencies and stakeholders for their robust synergy in ensuring that government achieved its mandate in the outgoing year.