Stakeholders in the maritime industry have called for a review of the key policies in the maritime industry for the benefit of Nigerians.
They specifically called on the Federal Government to urgently review the maritime policies which they maintained have negatively affected port operations in the country over the years.
The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Victoria Haastrup told newsmen in Lagos that there was need to expedite action on the passage of maritime bills presently before the National Assembly.
Though these bills are many, she particularly called for the quick passage of the Port and Harbours Bill which has been in the National Assembly since the 6th Assembly.
Haastrup who recently took over the mantle of leadership of Nigeria’s foremost maritime institution, the Certified Institute of Shipping, Nigeria (CISN) as its fourth President emphasised that in order to re-engineer the maritime sector, government should provide an enabling environment through monetary and fiscal policies for trade growth and economic sustainability.
Her words: “The maritime industry should be overhauled in the areas of maritime policies, institutional, regulatory and legal framework. This is because our policy framework is out-dated and incoherent. The Nigerian Ports Authority Act is 29 years old. New laws are urgently required. The National Assembly should pass the Ports and Harbours Bill currently before it.
“Government should do constant dredging of the channels in order to maintain a given draught. The dilapidated port access roads should be fixed while inter-modal transportation should be enhanced. The laying of channel buoys, the procurement of additional harbour crafts, the establishment of new signal stations and anchorages aimed at ensuring safety of navigation, protection of maritime environment and enhancement of maritime safety should be undertaken by the government to bring down the cost of doing business”.
Haastrup who is also the Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium Limited, the concessionaire of Terminal C in the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa also called for capacity building to ensure the sustainable development of the maritime industry in the years ahead.
On his part, the immediate past President of CISN, Professor Isaac Adalemo stressed the need for training and re-training to ensure that Nigerians nay Nigeria take its rightful place in the scheme of things in the maritime industry.
According to him, there was need to fill the yawning gap in professional training and development of the shipping sector of the economy.