Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Peterside Dakuku has disclosed that the Eastern ports accounted for 39 per cent of dry cargo vessels in the first quarter of 2018.
Peterside, who was speaking at the second stakeholders’ interactive session of the agency in Calabar, said over 5000 vessels (both wet and dry cargo) call at the country’s seven functional seaports annually.
He also said that of about 3,033 dry cargo vessels that visited Nigerian ports in 2016, the eastern ports accounted for only 631, which was put at about 20 per cent, while in 2017, out of 3106 dry cargo vessels, eastern ports recorded only 676.
He said based on the statistics, there was need for serious collaboration with the stakeholders in the sector to ensure that the environment was made conducive enough for continuous growth that is premised on sustainable development as well as present enormous opportunities for investors both as public and private partnership.
The NIMASA DG said the meeting designed to re-engineer the operational efficiency of the eastern ports and by extension the Nigerian Maritime Domain.
“The Nigerian Maritime Domain especially the Niger Delta region is vastly endowed with huge maritime resources which include crude oil, abundant mangrove forests, marshes, natural gas, tar, sands and sea grasses, but the country is yet to maximise them for economic development and wealth creation.
“Ports are critical infrastructure assets that serve as catalysts of economic growth and development. Therefore, the eastern ports must be active so as to create free access to the movement of both human and natural resources needed for harnessing the maritime resources in the region as well as make them competitive in the areas where they are needed,” he said.
Peterside, said threats associated with piracy, sea robbery, infrastructural challenge, low capacity development, among others, would be surmounted if all stakeholders play their various roles with sincerity.
He also said that through the Nigerians Seafarers Development Program (NSDP), 1,045 beneficiaries had graduated from the project, representing about 42 per cent graduates of the over 2500 NIMASA sponsored beneficiaries.
The Chairman of the governing board of NIMASA, Major Gen Jonathan Garba, said the meeting among other things, was aimed at reviewing the extent to which the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as implemented by the Agency in the maritime sector had impacted on the development and growth of the eastern ports.