By Godfrey BIVBERE
Former Chief of General State, Admiral Mike Akhigbe, has charged the federal government to tie its developmental plan around maritime because of the huge potentials and critical role of the sector to the nationâ€™s economy.
Akhigbe at a two-day Stakeholders Sensitization Workshop on Cabotage Compliance Guidelines organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (Nigerian Content Division) said that it is the only way to achieve actual development.
He noted that should government be serious about developing the country, it most as a matter of urgency use the â€œsea as national power base.â€
He further explained that the important role of the sector in the oil and gas industry, import/export business as well as manufacturing sub-sector of the economy, makes it imperative for government to think in this direction.
Speaking earlier, Director General of NIMASA, Timi Omatseye, said that the nationâ€™s quest to achieve global economic reckoning as encapsulated in the vision 202020 framework would not be possible without â€œthe capability to develop the indigenous capacity potentials for seamless transition in control of critical economic sectors as well as infrastructural and asset ownership, management and operations.â€
According to him, â€œHistory is yet to record a nation that achieved meaningful and sustainable economic development without first, taking full control of her economic destiny in her handsÂ and secure such control by empowering her citizens to drive and sustain future development.â€
The NIMASA boss pointed out that there two major challenges which the agency faces in it effort to implement the Cabotage Act.
These in his words are â€œthe challenge of implementing the Act in terms of developing national capacity sufficiency in shipbuilding and ship repair, acquisition of trading assets, as well as qualified and competent pool of seafarers.â€
The second he continued is related with enforcing compliance with the requirements of the Act. Here, we are mainly concerned with our own capacity to compel operators to conduct their activities in line with the dictates of the cabotage Act.â€
Five years of implementation of the Cabotage Act has made it imperative for NIMASA to collaborate with other relevant agencies to ensure better result in the implementation of the Act, he concluded.