By Dirisu Yakubu
Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has urged stakeholders of National Maritime Transport Policy Validation Forum for the eastern region to review the draft policy document to meet contemporary challenges, as well as to reposition the sector in the overall interest of the country.
The Minister stated this on Thursday at the Stakeholders’ Validation Forum Summit in Calabar, the Cross River state capital.
Represented by the Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Air Commodore, Emmanuel Effedua, Saraki acknowledged that the input of all stakeholders’ in the maritime sector is needed to produce a policy that will serve as an implementation tool towards fostering sustainable growth of the maritime sector in the country.
READ ALSO: Nigeria is bleeding now ― Defence minister
She charged players in the sector to “always strive for sustainable solutions that will further offer unique opportunities aimed at charting the desired synergy, collaboration and connective interplay in the sector for maximum economic benefit to the maritime sector, the national economy and consequently raise the profile of the sector globally.”
A statement signed by Eric Ojiekwe, Director, Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Transportation, quoted Senator Saraki as saying that Nigeria cannot develop without a vibrant national maritime transport policy, “hence the need for the maritime policy whose coming on board will play its rightful role in job creation, revenue generation, foreign exchange earnings and entrepreneurial skills for our growing economy.”
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, who was also represented by the Director, Maritime Safety and Security, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, in her remarks, noted that “policy is the bedrock for the development of any nation and sector. Therefore the development of the national maritime transport policy is pivotal to the survival, sustainability and advancement of the maritime sector of Nigeria.”
Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, in his brief remarks said that the national maritime transport policy was first drafted in 2016 but never fully implemented. He expressed hope that the forum will provide the needed platform to proffer inputs that are not only self seeking for the country but also tandem with implementing and enforcing the International Maritime Organisation, IMO instruments.