The Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, disclosed this at a presentation of a book titled, ‘Footprints of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Maritime Sector,’ organised by a maritime writers’ group, SCAN, in Lagos.
The book chronicles the activities of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Nigerian Ports Authority, National Inland Waterways Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria and the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria.
It was reviewed by the Executive Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello, and the Director- General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside.
Bala-Usman who was represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Dr Sokonte Davies, said the maritime sector was a major contributor to the economy, adding that the oil and gas sector, which was the country’s economic mainstay, completely depended on the sea.
According to her, the present government has recognised the role of the maritime sector in the economy, and has, therefore, put several measures in place to buoy the industry including 25-reform plan, which is currently being pursued.
She said, “Nigerian ports are a major gateway into the country with over 85 per cent of all the goods and services coming into the country, exploiting facilities at the nation’s seaports with aggregate value exceeding the $15bn mark annually.”
She added that the current administration had taken major steps to improve the maritime industry in the last three-and-half years.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, SCAN, Bolaji Akinola, said the book was put together by the association to acknowledge the commitment of the government to the betterment of the maritime industry, and to serve as a source/reference document for future generations.
He said it was also on record that the huge infrastructural deficit facing the sector was being addressed by the present government.
He added that the lack of scanners in the ports, severely dilapidated port access roads, lack of rail evacuation of cargo from the port as well as dysfunctional inland container depots, were issues the present government had decided to tackle headlong.