By Uche Eletuo
Lagos – Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), on Monday called for an integrated maritime transport policy.
Peterside made the call at a three-day workshop on National Maritime Transport Policy in Lagos.
According to him, such an all encompassing policy framework will aid the maritime sector in turning around the nation’s fortunes and improve on the existing National Transport Policy.
The director-general noted that the workshop put together by NIMASA in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) would no doubt keep participants abreast of the desired technical know-how.
He said that it was expected that with IMO’s assistance, Nigeria would have a policy that would drive traffic to the nation’s ports.
“We have robust resource persons from IMO and from sister agencies and the best brains in the maritime sector from the private sector.
“It is not advisable for agencies working for the same goal to continue to toe different lines of policies.
“It is my firm belief that at the end of the workshop, we will have a workable template that will drive a policy draft capable of sustaining Nigeria’s maritime development.
“In 2016, the Federal Ministry of Transport formulated a policy to advance the sector and to attract investors.
“There is such a policy at the continental level. Therefore, it is expected that with IMO’s assistance, we will have a policy that will drive traffic to our ports,’’ Peterside said.
According to him, 60 per cent of cargoes that enter the West African shore come to Nigeria.
“Therefore, it is high time we fortify our sector with global compliant laws and business-friendly regulations.
“Maritime is international and we cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the world by doing things the local way, which tends to draw us back and scare away investors,’’ the director-general said.
In his remarks, the IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim said that the workshop was possible because of the request by the NIMASA director-general to the IMO for assistance.
The secretary-general, who was represented by Mr William Azu, said that “Nigeria enjoys a high premium in the IMO and that was why an array of personalities were delegated from the organisation to Nigeria.’’