Why maritime, shipping should enjoy priority — Amaechi

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
As NPA commissions 2 tug boats for marine operations
Stories by Godwin Oritse
IN a bid to have a more efficient operations in the maritime industry, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has commissioned two tug boats, ‘MT Musawa and MT Ikoro-Ekiti’, with a view to positioning the industry for greater economic value.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who performed the ceremony by Zoom virtual communication, said that the purchase of these equipments, amongst many others that are in the works, signposts the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s seriousness about repositioning the maritime sector to add greater value to the national economy.
The Minister explained that despite the lockdown of other segments of the economy, the maritime sector was open to business during the period was an indication of the importance the government attaches to the sector.
He stated: “If anyone was in doubt as to the importance of the maritime sector to Nigerian and global economy, the event of the past three months where ports across the world have remained open in spite of the comprehensive lockdown of virtually all other sectors should instruct on why priority attention has to be given to the sector.
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“Given government’s determination to develop other sectors of the national economy and reduce reliance on the oil and gas sector, we have identified the pivotal role the maritime sector occupies in the actualization of the fundamental objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration.
“We understand that not less than 85 percent of the country’s external trade passes through the seaports and are committed to repositioning the ports for greater efficiency.
“The much talked about transition from a mono-product into a diversified economy is heavily dependent on how robust we can make our maritime space and we are committed to achieving this.
“As you are aware, work is ongoing on President’s directive that all seaport locations must be linked up to the standard gauge rail line even as we are determined to link up the 36 state capitals with the Federal Capital, Abuja with standard gauge rail services.
“I particularly want to commend the NPA for delivering on this project nine months ahead of schedule. This is the kind of efficiency that the administration wants to entrench in the polity and I am happy that we are making progress.’’
Earlier in her remarks, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza  Bala Usman, said that the assets will improve the efficiency of the port.
Usman disclosed that the vessels will be deployed to the Eastern ports to improve efficiency in that axis.
Vanguard
 
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