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The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has stated that the Nigerian maritime sector is a haven of opportunities for the world maritime industry to tap into.
The minister made this remark at the â€œAfrica @ Norâ€ session of the recently concluded Nor-Shipping 2017, which held at Lillstrome, Norway.
He assured the audience that Nigeria is a strategic destination for investment opportunities, stressing that Nigeria epitomises a broad spectrum of the continent in Africa.
â€œNigeria is the most populous country in Africa with about 183million people and by extension, with the cumulative population of two landlocked countries of Chad Republic, which is 14.9 million people and Niger Republic with 21.3million people creates a huge consuming market and comparable cheap labour, â€œhe said.
Amaechi also used the opportunity to assure the Nor-Shipping participants that the anti-corruption stance of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the establishment of the National Trade Data Centre are expected to eliminate inherent corporate governance abuses even as he promised the investors that they will have good returns on their investments.
In the area of security, he stated that the enhanced synergies between the various arms of security agencies have resulted in efficient performance.
â€œI wish to assure you that the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is committed to ensuring that Nigeria becomes a maritime hub for the West and Central Africa sub region, we therefore call on both local and international investors to join hands with us in enhancing Nigeriaâ€™s per capital income by supporting the various developmental initiatives, â€he said.
On his part, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that Nigeria as a maritime nation is endowed by nature with over 850 kilometers of coastline.
He said that the country has six modern port complexes and a fast developing intermodal transport system as well as abundant trained workforce combined with a standard regulatory regime amongst others which are benefits accruable to investing in the Nigeria maritime sector.
â€œWe are bounded by two land locked countries of chad and Niger, so we are not just serving goods coming into Nigeria, we are also serving goods going to Chad and Niger Rebublicâ€, said the NIMASA boss.
He hinted that Nigeria will soon take delivery of the fifth largest floating dock in Africa, which is expected to be delivered by the last quarter of the year.
In addition, as part of the efforts to ease doing business in Nigeria, Peterside informed the audience that the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) was established to fast track investment entry into Nigeria, among which is the commencement of a 24-hour ports operations.
The NIMASA DG also identified the key areas of achieving a hub status such as putting the right infrastructure in place, right regulatory regime and a proper maritime security.
He said: “Nigeria has not only put the right infrastructure in place, but has put the right regulatory regime and also a set of incentives to make us a hub. So, talk about stability, you can say Nigeria has it, and the government is also working on intermodal transport system to facilitate the ease of doing business and of course good regulatory regime.â€
Nor-Shipping is a bi-annual event that brings together stakeholders in the maritime sector from various continents aimed at improving the global maritime sector. The event also featured exhibitions amongst others. The main theme for this yearâ€™s event was â€˜Catalyst for Changeâ€™.