The Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman has promised to fast-track the enactment of the Port and Harbour law.
Suleimam who disclosed this when presenting his keynote address at the 11th Maritime Seminar Judges held recently in Abuja, noted that the purpose of fast tracking the process is to ensure that public interest is not sacrificed due to incomplete implementation of the port reform.
He expressed concern that the Port and Harbour Bill still remained in the process of enactment four years after agreements had been signed with the terminal operators and the terminals handed over to them, adding that, â€œsimilarly, the National Transport Commission that was conceived as an economic regulator for the sub-sector is yet to be actualised.
The Minister said the port reform and restructuring was conceived to, among other things, increase efficiency of operators, decrease the cost of service rendered and to make Nigeria the hub for international freight and trade in West and Central Africa.
He recalled that the Federal Government started the port reform programme and restructuring of the transport industry focusing on framework, legal, regulatory and concessioning of the infrastructure to private sector operators since 2001, noting that so far, 24 out of the 26 port terminals have been concessioned.
Suleiman also said another critical sub-sector being addressed is the rail transport system, adding that the total efficiency of a transport system is based on linkages of the various modes of transport. â€œThe revitalisation of our rail system will provide the much-needed intermodalism necessary for efficiency of transportation in Nigeria,â€ he said.