Experts in the maritime sector of the economy have pointed way forward for the transportation industry. Speaking at the inaugural transport leadership lecture organised by Kings Communications Limited in Lagos with the theme “Driving Change with Leadership in Transport Industry” the experts said there should a significant shift in the way and manner things are done in the transport industry so that they can be in tune with the change mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs. Mfon Usoro was of the view that Nigerian experts should not de-market Nigeria as far as development is concerned in the transport sector.
Usoro, who is the Secretary General, Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (PSC), otherwise called Abuja MoU, said that while criticizing the federal government in areas of failure, there was need to also highlight its positive records.
National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Olayiwola Shittu in his contribution called on the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to refer to the reports of various committees set up in the past by his predecessors instead of setting up fresh committees.
Shittu said the problem has been that recommendations by experts are usually not implemented.
As a way out, he called on the Minister to set up a committee that will harmonise all the recommendations made in the past for the development of the transport sector.
On his part, the Chairman, Ports Consultative Council (PCC), Otunba Kunle Folarin proposed a realignment of the transportation sector in line with a national transport policy.
According to him, the agencies under the ministry require master plans to enable them function with a focus.
“Nigeria needs an integrated transport system to support its economic agenda of the Buhari’s administration,” he said.
The acting Registrar, Nigeria Institute of Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers (NIFFCB), Mr. Alban Igwe called for a transportation policy and the need to make available a document that would encourage prospective investors to the sector.
He said the draft policy on transportation needs a review in order to give the industry the required direction, while professionalism should be given a priority in the running of the industry.
A Lagos base legal practitioner, Mr. Emeka Akabogu called for a leadership with focus on driving set agenda and achieving goals, not just going about routine works and signing of contracts.
He charged Amaechi to define Nigeria’s transport policy, have operational standards and ensure that the agencies under the ministry performed their key roles to develop and grow the sector.
While defining leadership as one focused on goals, Akabuogu called on the Transport Ministry to pursue the passage of relevant bills concerning the sector in the National Assembly.
Referring to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is now receiving the attention of the National Assembly because of the efforts put up by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other stakeholders, he said it should have been the same on the transport side as far as National Transport Commission (NTC) bill and other related bills were concerned.
He also pointed out the need for a transport policy, cabotage shipping, Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), conflicting roles of government agencies in the sector, trade facilitation and marine transportation as among the challenges of the sector that the Minister of Transportation should address.
The event convener, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke, said the issue of a national transport policy should be top on the agenda to engender the desired position for Nigeria’s transportation system.
Anaroke said the draft policy on transportation had been abandoned since 2003, therefore leaving the industry without a clear-cut direction to follow.
He urged the transportation minister to raise and work with technical committees that have the wherewithal to address the issues plaguing the industry.
High point of the event was the award presentation of the ‘Best Maritime Agency of the Year 2015’ to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.