Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked maritime stakeholders to creatively think of strategies that will grow the Nigerian maritime industry as a viable option to oil and gas.
Olusegun Obasanjo who was the Chairman at the opening ceremony of a two-day stakeholders’ conference on the maritime industry tagged, “Building a Sustainable Maritime Industry in Nigeria” organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation also said that most countries that have attained greatness utilised the availability of resources in their maritime environment.
The former President who highlighted the opportunities in the Nigeria’s maritime industry to include the vastness of its coastline and huge population called on the government to show more commitment by bringing in professionals to assist in running the affairs of the industry in order to make Nigeria a key player of maritime activity in the African region.
While bemoaning the level of underdevelopment in the sector over the years, Chief Obasanjo called on the Federal Government to put mechanisms in place to sanitize the sector for greater efficiency and productivity so that Nigeria does not give the “change” mantra a bad name.
In his keynote address, the Minster of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to revive the National Shipping Line without government equity contribution to be solely managed by the private sector.
The Minister who also identified corruption as one of the things bedevilling the growth of the maritime sector noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is determined to stamp out corruption in all sectors of the nation’s economy.
Hon. Amaechi who insisted that the present administration is committed to the wellbeing of Nigerians noted that “this is a reformist regime and change is not an easy task; the era of making laws without enforcement and implementation is over, hence the need for Nigerians to join hands with this government in rebuilding the nation”.
The two-day conference which is expected to chart a new course for the sustainable development of the Nigerian maritime sector is being attended by shipowners, terminal operators, maritime lawyers and other stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry.