Lagos, Jan. 19, 2024: The Federal Govemment has identified the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry as one of pivotal ministries critical to achieving a one trillion dollar economy by 2026.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Pius Akuta, said this on Thursday during a courtesy visit at the Tincan Island Container Terminal Ltd., Lagos.
Akuta added that the Federal Government had concluded plans to come up with policy documents that would boast port efficiency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that President Bola Tinubu in October 2023 set a target of growing the economy to $1 trillion by 2026 and increasing it to $3 trillion by the end of the decade in 2030.
Akuta said that the President and his New Hope Agenda for this country was looking at moving from $500 billion economy to $1trillion economy by 2026.
“We have a lot of issues to put together and Nigeria has taken a bold steps by establishing the Marine and Blue and that is geared towards restructuring the marine environment so that it contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.
“The minister has been working day and night meeting with stakeholders on issues relating to challenges the sector is facing and a policy will be roled out to address these issues so as to ensure port efficiency.
“To achieve port efficiency, there is need for stakeholders impute. On tariff, if we achieve port efficiency, the turnaround time is improved and it will trickle down,” he said.
Akuta noted that going forward, things would change drastically, the checkpoint would be looked at holistically and steps would be taken in all directions to improve port efficiency.
He described automation as the most important way to go in terms of port efficiency, stating that this would lead to less gridlock on the port corridors.
“My concern also is achieving the International Cargo Tracking Note that will help all stakeholders in cargo clearance and the country achieve port efficiency.
“This is in the front burner of the presidency and we are going to work to achieving it in record time and probably before the end of the year,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director/CEO, Tincan Island Container Terminal Ltd., Mr Etienne Rocher, said the rehabilitation and modernisation of Lagos ports were critical to meeting the requirements that would attract shipping lines and make the country competitive in West and Central Africa.
Rocher also blamed poor access roads as one of the obstacles hindering ease of doing business in the country.
He noted that the number of containers handled by the terminal had reduced due to congestion.
“Although rail and barge are alternatives for evacuation of cargoes from the seaports, they remain secondary to the roads, which remains the core avenue for cargo movement and take up about 97 per cent of the consignments,” he said.
Rocher wondered how it took less than 24-hour to clear the port access roads of traffic during presidential visit to the port and a whole decade to resolve the issue permanently.