By Gboyega Oni
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will support the development of a sustainable maritime transport system by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in providing a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the Nigerian maritime sector.
IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim stated this in Lagos, Nigeria at a workshop on maritime transport policy organised by NIMASA in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Kitack Lim, who was represented at the event by the IMO Head, Africa Section, Technical Cooperation Division, Mr. William Azuh, said that promotion and development of national policies to guide planning, decision making and relevant legislative actions is an important governance practice of many governments, including Nigeria.
According to him, “We will support NIMASA in developing a sustainable maritime transport system reflecting and balancing the interests of stakeholders with a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy, which is crucial in serving as a fundamental guidance document to provide a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the Nigerian maritime sector.”
Speaking, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that Nigeria is in dire need of a Maritime Transport policy which will complement the existing National Transport Policy and advance the country’s global maritime trade.
He noted that the programme is a new phase in the nation’s journey towards effectively maximising the maritime opportunities that abound the sector, especially in line with the Agency’s mandate of promoting and facilitating maritime trade.
“You will agree with me that 60% of the cargo headed to West Africa will likely end up in Nigeria; we have not only a long coast but also one of the longest inland waterways; in addition of six active port complexes. All these, coupled with our population, make us the biggest economy in Africa. Therefore, we need a sustainable maritime policy that would guide the coordination of maritime activities as we strive to advance Nigeria’s Global maritime Goal,” Peterside said.
He opined that NIMASA cannot achieve this goal alone, hence the need to seek supports of the IMO and other relevant stakeholders in order to come up with a model to develop a maritime transport policy that will serve Nigeria’s interest and stand the test of time.
“A workable maritime transport policy of any nation should be stakeholders driven. Therefore all associated stakeholders and professionals in the sector are needed to participate in the articulation and formulation of this policy”, Dakuku said.
The workshop was designed to equip NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders with technical skills needed for drafting of the National Maritime Transport Policy focusing on the concept, the formulation process and content of such policies.