‘Revamping Seaports, Harmonising Charges, Critical for Nigeria’s Growth’

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By Oluchi Chibuzor

As the Lagos Seaports currently battles with congestion, some stakeholders in the maritime industry have beckoned on the government to develop other major seaports in the country to properly distribute business across the ports.

This they stated would allow market forces to determine various tariffs and rates charged by the regulatory bodies operating in the Industry.

Speaking at the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting, tagged; “Tariffs and Rates as Stimulant of Growth for the Nigerian Economy,” held in Lagos, the Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Limited, Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, said tariffs and rates are used by governments in many jurisdictions to advance their nations economic interest.

Activities in other ports, she stated, would create competitiveness which is lacking in the industry and reduce over-reliance on the Lagos ports.

This, she also said would increase Ease of doing Business around the seaports, saying government agencies should focus on facilitating trade rather than their current philosophy of generating income only at the detriment of overall masses who bear the charges.

According to her, “As a developing nation in a global economy, Nigeria needs to understand how to use all the tools available at her disposal to advance her economic interest and to develop the nation maritime industry one of the tools is tariffs and rates, thereby stimulating export and protecting local industries from the effects dumping.”

In her keynote address, the Lagos State Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, who was represented by the Director of Industry, Lekan Ogunbowale, noted that the theme was currently an issue within the maritime industry.

She stressed the need for stakeholders to take advantage of global developments to drive international business traffic into Nigeria as bases for foreign investment in the African continent.

She said optimal use of resource remains a catalyst for growth of the Nigerian economy stressing that, “not doing so is a source of concern as it impacts on operators in different ways, while it equally serves as a veritable tool of revenue generation to the government, this is the time to optimally utilise our resources towards building a virile and sustainable maritime sector.

“There are no doubts that internal and external policies and infrastructural development would normally have impact on the growth pattern, hence there is need to explore ways in which the maritime sector can be positioned as driver of economic development.” She explained.

The Chairman, Genesis Worldwide Shipping Limited, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho stressed the need to build infrastructure to sustain the already stretch facility in Lagos ports that has been in usage over forty years and counting.

Meanwhile, representative of the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Mrs. Margret Ogbonna, said,  “there is need kick off other ports and infrastructural development to cope with the dynamic nature of the industry.