The change in the status of the Kirikiri Fishing Terminals in Lagos, Nigeria to petroleum tank farms by the Federal Government has stalled the growth of the fishing industry in the country.
The former President of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA), Mrs. Margret Orakwusi said in other countries, including Ghana, fishing terminals are still working well serving the purpose of providing mechanical and carpentry workshops, fuel dump, cold room, fire service, etc to the fishing industry, but in Nigeria, that good intention has been sabotaged by “powerful people.”
Orakwusi who is the Chief Executive Officer of Morbod Group expressed this view while featuring at the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers’ roundtable in Lagos last week.
According to her, “The government in their wisdom dedicated a place in Kikrikiri to serve as fishing terminal, by the way, other countries who are seriously into fishing have terminals, Ghana, our neighbor, has but we all know how things have a way of going wrong in this country; we don’t know what eventually played out till we started seeing tank farms being erected by “powerful people” in this country. As far as I’m concerned these ‘powerful people’ are saboteurs of the general public.”
She noted that Nigeria can end the war risk insurance imposed by foreign ship owners on cargoes bound for Nigerian ports by making the Deep Blue Project work and automating clearance and other shipping processes.
Mrs. Orakwusi said although discussions were ongoing to bring an end to war risk insurance borne by Nigerian shippers following the introduction of the Deep Blue Project in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea, processes at Nigerian ports must be automated to make things easier for ships that come to Nigeria.
“Remember that this is commerce, they cover everything under war risk insurance. The vessel that’s supposed to use few days at our port now ends up using months before leaving, all these are part of the insurance,” she said, adding “this brings us to the issue of automation.
I’m also a lawyer and I handle some of the cases relating to insurance. The ways agencies of government board the vessels are also not giving us a good image. All these could be eliminated by automation,” she said.
Barr. Orakwusi said ship registration, renewal of certificates and licenses and clearance processes should be automated to eliminate delays and corruption which portray Nigerian ports and agencies as inefficient and corrupt.