By Dirisu Yakubu
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has met with Ministers of Transportation of West/Central Africa countries over the establishment of a maritime bank for the regions.
Amaechi who met with his counterparts at the One-Day Conference of Ministers of Transportation organised by the Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa, MOWCA, in Lagos, noted that the establishment of a maritime bank was necessary for maritime development of the regions.
He pledged the financial commitment of Nigeria to the bank if only other countries fulfill their own financial obligations.
According to him, Nigeria has a budgetary allocation for the project this year stating however that he couldn’t guarantee if there would be budgetary provision for the same in 2021
“The last meeting we had, a lot of countries signed, that they are coming but they are not here today.
“The position of Nigeria will change a bit. The position of Nigeria now will be: we are ready to contribute our money when others are ready. We will just sit back and watch, when others bring their money, we will bring ours.
“We can’t be pushing and nobody is responding the way we thought everybody should respond. We will make our contribution when others have made theirs.
“I wish we could make our contribution this year because we have the budgetary allocation for it but it is next year, I can’t guarantee that we will have the budgetary provision. We will try in case you are ready next year.
“We believe that this bank is a necessary tool that we need for maritime development of West and Central Africa,” he stated.
On his part, Didier Mazenga Mukanzu, Minister of Transport and Communication of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairman of MOWCA, expressed his gratitude to the 25 member states and the government of Nigeria.
“Indeed, the Committee of Experts of MOWCA met in Lagos from September15-16, 2020 on the project to set up the regional maritime bank of development.
“The Honorable Minister of Transport of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has taken upon himself the commitment to speak with its counterparts from the other Member States in order to convince them to support the project by approving, in particular, the Charter and expect the States to express their commitment to the project.
“I would like to remind you that this maritime bank project was adopted for the very first time by the 6 sessions of the Bureau of Ministers held in Abidjan on the 9 August 1999. That’s more than 20 years ago. Many initiatives have been taken. But this time, the partners are there and ready to invest in the project.
“However, when people actually want to achieve a goal, they must commit accordingly. Ministers, we are at a decisive turning point in this project. I hope that the will of the sub-region is expressed overwhelmingly. We can now take a big step forward,” he said.