By Gboyega Oni
Maritime stakeholders, legal experts, academics, and university students, said to be drawn from about eight institutions, are gearing up for discussion at the second edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference billed for Friday, August 4, 2017 at the University of Lagos.
The theme of the conference is “Nigerian Port Reforms” and while the keynote address will centre on “Developing Critical Port Infrastructure Through Public-Private Partnership.”
The conference, held in honour of Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice-Chairman, SIFAX Group, is an initiative of the Maritime Forum, University of Lagos and SIFAX Group.
Speaking on the event, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, said the need to deepen discourse around topical issues in the country’s maritime industry, as well as proffering practical solutions to them, gave birth to the conference.
According to him, “The second edition of the conference would dwell on the infrastructural deficit in the industry. This is necessary in view of the challenges that port users, including regulatory agencies, investors, agents, clients, workers, among others, encounter in accessing, discharging and regulating port activities. This has a negative economic impact for all stakeholders, including the government.
“Distinguished experts have been invited as speakers to provide practical roadmap that will lead to concrete and sustainable solutions to the problem. I look forward to the useful insights based on years of industry experience that they will bring to the conference. I am convinced that such insights would be useful to the industry, the government and participants.”
On his own part, Mr. Ilemobade Olateru-Olagbegi, President, Maritime Forum, said the conference would be beneficial both to the industry and the students due to its objective of being an avenue to stimulate intellectual discussions between maritime experts and the university community, especially students with interest in the maritime industry, on contemporary issues in the industry, both locally and internationally.
Among the speakers and discussants expected include Princess Vicky Haastrup, Executive Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium; Mrs. Funke Agbor (SAN), Senior Partner, Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun law firm and a past President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria; Major Henry Ajetunmobi, Executive Director, SIFAX Group; Mr. Bola Asiru, Director, Delloitte West Africa and Mr. Inam Wilson, Partner, Templars Law while the chairman is Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, former President, Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA).