Rotimi Amaechi.
Minister of Transportion, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi

John Iwori

The federal government is set to invest heavily in shipping in line with its diversifying programme.

The government has also promised to invest in capacity building by equipping port state control (PSC) inspectors working in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and supporting the agency with the expertise needed to carry out its core duties more efficiently.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who dropped the hint in Lagos, was however silent on the amount the government plans to invest in the shipping sector.

He said the government is taking proactive measure to reduce accident rates and fatalities, loss of property.

Industry players have said as much as N7 trillion could be realised from the maritime sector of the economy annually if its huge potential is adequately harnessed.

Amaechi said the high level of maritime activities in the nation’ s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea has imposed enormous challenges on the federal government and other coastal countries in the West and Central Africa in terms of building a robust and effective maritime safety regime.

He directed the PSC Inspectors at NIMASA and the 19 beneficiaries to update their knowledge and enhance the general drive towards building a robust and effective maritime safety regime in the country and the region.

Amaechi said: “As inspectors of ships for your respective countries, you are all collectively saddled with an important role in the socio-economic activities of your countries and the West and Central African region in general. In that role, you form an important part of the necessary resources required to discharge the responsibilities of your maritime administrations.

“Ensuring flag ship integrity and international obligations for PSC are important elements in the development of maritime safety. Your capacity to represent your countries by effectively discharging your duties on ships is critical and should therefore be given the required attention.”

The minister added that the region is critical to the global supply of energy due to the economic advantages derived from the transportation of low-sulphur crude oil from the region to Europe and North America.

He also said the Gulf of Guinea remained an important maritime route for commercial shipping from Europe and America to West, Central and Southern Africa.

While noting that countries under the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on PSC account for a significant volume of seaborne cargo to and from African, he implored all participants at the recent workshop “to take the engagement seriously, remain focused and avail yourselves with the unique opportunity to secure in-depth understanding of the presentations to be delivered by the resource persons.”