By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has charged regulatory bodies to reduce the cost of doing business by checking the exploitation of operators at seaports.
The Minister who gave this charge at the 2020 World Maritime Day Celebration with the theme: ‘Sustainable Shipping for Sustainable Planet: The Nigerian Dimension:’ held in Eko Hotel, Lagos on Thursday, stated that the objective behind the Secured Anchorage Area, SAA has been defeated with the exorbitant charge of $1500 a vessel per day.
In his welcome address, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, urged participants and resource persons “not to see the annual event as a mere celebration for the congregation of who is who in the maritime industry, but should be taken as a reflective period to focus on developing the maritime sector”.
In his keynote address, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, disclosed that it’s been five years since President Buhari, joined other world leaders at the 70th Session of the United Nations to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of 17 SDGs on the universal call to end poverty, safeguard the planet and ensure peace and prosperity by the year 2030.
A statement signed by Eric Ojiekwe, Director of Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Transportation quoted the Presidential aide as calling on stakeholders in the sector to leverage on available local resources and invest in infrastructure and machinery that are economically and physically in line with the aspirations of the SDGs.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Maritime Transport, Sen. Danjuma Goje, represented by Sen. Tolu Odebiyi, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Hon. Linda Ikpeazu, in separate remarks, advised that the recommendations reached be backed by policy and action.
Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration, and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashiri Jamoh, in his presentation assured the international community that with the Anti-piracy Act, Nigeria is now repositioned to fight piracy and change the narrative following recent statistics by the International Maritime Organization, IMO, that the nation’s waters are the most dangerous to trade-in.
Other presenters encouraged the development and coordination of the Blue Economic policy, the use of scientific and verified information for the development of the maritime sector.
They further pointed out that the major threat to marine life emanates from land, stressing that the country should consider turning the land wastes into recyclable and reusable energy.
The participants came out with a communique which among other things emphasised that SDGs are germane to the maritime industry and in this regard, urgent measures towards diversifying the economy away from oil revenue are key.
They also reiterated the need to develop regulations for the implementation of relevant IMO instruments to forestall the effects of climate change and pollution on the marine environment.
NIMASA was directed to provide a platform for marine incident reporting and information sharing; training and retraining of seafarers in line with internationally acceptable standards; a collaboration between government and privately-owned maritime training institutions was also advised.