The organised private sector operators have again attributed the present dilemma experienced in the various sea ports across the country, especially the Rivers State port, to the deliberate stifling policies of the federal government.
Officials of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (NACCIMA), Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and other critical stakeholders in the maritime and organised private sector came to this consensus at the 4th Quarter Council Meeting of the NACCIMA hosted by the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce in Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the banquet dinner, Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo expressed shock why ports in the area are unfairly singled out for astronomical charges which, he said has been scaring potential importers and exporters away from the state, while other ports outside the region are fairly benchmarked in rates.
“We are happy that the likes of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and NACCIMA are seriously engaged in advocacy to ensure that a change is effected; I want to assure you that the Rivers State Government is committed to partnering with you to achieve this objective, we also promised to exploit the potentials of the ports in reviving the state economy,” the governor said.
President of PHCCIMA, Dr Emi Membere Otaji, in his remark, underscored the economic importance of resuscitating the sea ports in Rivers state.
He said: “We must make Port Harcourt ports work so that everything will not gravitate to Lagos. PHCCIMA has been interfacing with key stakeholders and we will strive further to ensure our first love shipping is reinvented as envisioned by our finding fathers.”
On his part, NACCIMA President, Bassey Edem expressed gratitude to the Rivers State government for delivering its promise to provide a permanent trade fair site for the city chamber.
He also lauded the state government for creating an enabling environment for the organised private sector to thrive.
He said reviving Port Harcourt ports has become necessary as it will help stimulate the state economy and create strings of multiple employment opportunities promising to help in the advocacy.
Speaking on the essence of the meeting, he said it was an avenue to review the economic situation of the country with a view to proffering lasting solutions that will position the country in good direction..
The meeting also witnessed a lecture by Prof. Bamidele Badejo, a onetime commissioner for transport Lagos State, on the topic: ‘Re-inventing Port Harcourt as a Port City’, where he reiterated that Nigeria as a country sitting on assets without taking advantage of it.