The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has charged the newly inaugurated board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure speedy completion of the deep blue sea project
Amaechi, while inaugurating members of the board on Thursday in Abuja, said that the project, when completed, would eradicate insecurity challenges on the country’s waterways.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the board has as Chairman, Mr Honourable Asita, with Bashir Jamoh and Victor Ochei as members.
NAN reports that other members of the board are Chudi Offordile, Shehu Ahmed, Adekola Adefemi, Muhammed Abubakar, Hassan Mahmud, Eyewumi Neburagho and Rear Adm. Ibikunle Olaiya.
According to Amaechi, the deep blue sea project has been approved by the Federal Government, with over 60 per cent of its cost paid.`
”It is one project I have vowed to promote, inspite of all the interests, and there are too many interests fighting to stop it.
”Now, this board and the management is charged to go and complete that project.
”The Director-General NIMASA has reported in the past one or two weeks, several successful attempts at kidnapping people; they were kidnapped on our waterways and this project is geared toward stopping that.
”Where we are now is the local content of the project, in fact the gentlemen have virtually supplied almost everything for the project.
”I plead with you, so we do not become agents of those who don’t want this to succeed. I am sure we will be able to solve the insecurity problem if this is completed.
”So, you have the responsibility to discharge that quickly and discharge it according to law,” he said.
Amaechi said the success of NIMASA to a great extent would be dependent on the success of the deep blue sea project.
He, therefore, urged the management to work with the board to ensure the success of the project, which would ensure safety of the country’s waterways, a core mandate of the agency.
“Go and work together. Let the board know that there is a difference between board and management. Board initiates policies and management executes policies,’’ he said.
Responding on behalf of members of the board, Asita commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the members the opportunity to serve the country, pledging their commitment to deliver on their mandate.
”I have had cause to express some concerns to you before the inauguration about the insecurity on our waterways.
” I have also had cause to interact with members of the board and have had a few meetings with the Director-General of the agency.
”I want to assure you that we will work together peacefully, harmoniously, knowing the responsibilities of the board and management, and we will work together peacefully to deliver on our mandate.
”We are lucky to have a team of very competent eminent Nigerians as members of the management team of NIMASA.
”So, with the support of members of the board, I assure you that we will take the assignment you have given us very seriously and on behalf of the board, I want to thank you for the honour bestowed on us.
”It is only an irresponsible organisation that will play with the security of its economy.
“If we must trade as a country, we need the waterways to be safe, so we thank you for this opportunity and assure you that we will deliver on the mandate,’’ Asita said. (NAN)
Hope Rises For Nigeria’s Underutilised Eastern Seaports
Prospects of revival of the country’s eastern seaports heightened last Thursday at the occasion of the inauguration of the new Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Describing them as underutilised, the Chairman of the new Board, Akin Ricketts, lamented over their state, while noting that such a situation had far-reaching impact on the country’s economy, as it was responsible for the congestion which has crippled business at the western ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island; all in Lagos.
Ricketts then pledged that his new board would strive to resolve the situation by improving the conditions of the eastern ports. The eastern ports comprise Port Harcourt and Onne (Rivers State), Delta in Warri (Delta State) and Calabar (Cross River State). As envisaged, the eastern ports are to service the eastern part of the country comprising states located east of the River Niger.
For several years, the western ports have been under a state of strangulating congestion, with roads leading to them routinely clogged by unclaimed imported vehicles and assorted cargo, which in turn delay and deny onward passage of cleared cargo to their destinations for as much as six months in some cases.
This is because of the critical importance of the seaports to a Nigerian economy with preponderant dependence on imports of consumer goods, as well as industrial raw materials and equipment.
Incidentally, the problematic state of the country’s ports is not new, while the causative factors are also not far-fetched. For instance, one of the reported age-long problems of the eastern ports is that of narrow and shallow channels connecting them to the ocean, with associated high cost of dredging, as well as clearing such waterways.
Other issues that have made them less attractive to port users include the differential in freight charges when compared to western ports, and the deplorable state of infrastructure in them. Yet another is the challenge of security for maritime operations in the eastern zone.
Presently, many ship owners and operators in the eastern zone rent private vessels which are manned by armed naval personnel to escort their vessels of interest into and out of Nigerian waters. And this is usually at significant cost to the vehicle operators. Little wonder that over 60 per cent of cargo coming to Nigeria end up in the western ports, even when the importers may not be from that zone.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that as apparent responses to the challenges of these eastern ports, the NPA in 2018 announced that it planned to invest N1bn to tackle the problem of reviving the eastern ports. Also, in 2019, the NPA announced a reduction of 10 per cent in port operational charges for use of the eastern ports by categories of ships, namely those with 250 of 20-foot equivalent containers, general cargo of 16,000 metric tonnes, combo vessels of 16,000 metric tonnes, as well as roll-on roll-off vessels with 250 units of vehicles.
It would seem that such measures are yet to sway the port users to step up significantly their use of these eastern ports as the affected ports still lack the operational ambience and infrastructure for trouble-free patronage by port users.
Many observers attribute the current problems of the country’s port system to the 2006 measures by the Federal Government to concession the ports and the attendant withdrawal of 30 per cennt incentive granted to vehicle owners who use the eastern ports under their control by government.
However, while the concession was to attract better business for the ports (including the eastern ports), the reverse was the case.
Hence while the concern of the chairman of the new NPA board remains valid, the onus still lies on the management of the agency to bring the eastern ports into full operational status.
Source: Daily Trust
Gov Emmanuel Commends Buhari On Ibom Deep Seaport Project
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has applauded President Mohammad Buhari determination to fast track the actualisation of Ibom Deep Seaport, IDSP.
The governor also thanked the Federal Ministry of Transportation and all relevant federal regulatory agencies including the NPA, ICRC and others for working tirelessly with Akwa Ibom state government to actualise a vision that will transform the economic fortunes of the entire country.
He poured encomiums on the Technical Committee on Realisation of Ibom Deep Seaport for its dedication and high sense of patriotism displayed in pursuing the project.
These commendations came on the heels of an announcement that the Federal Government is set to move to the next level of the procurement process of the Ibom Deep Port project.
Emmanuel, who speake through the state’s Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Akan Okon said, “The government and people of Akwa Ibom State are very happy with this development and we must appreciate President Mohammad Bihari for his visionary leadership and thank the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and all relevant regulatory agencies who diligently and tiredlessly with our state government and contributed to the success so far recorded.”
“This certification is a clear evidence that Federal Government appreciates the extensive benefits Ibom Deep Seaport will attract to the country in terms of expansive business and employment opportunities.”
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