By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Executive Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has called for sustained efforts to maximize the opportunities that are abounding in the maritime sub-sector through entrepreneurship.
Usman made the call at the second edition of the Nigeria and Entrepreneurship Summit and Honors (NESH) Maritime Roundtable in Lagos on the theme: “Harnessing the Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in the Nigerian Sub Sector.
She stated that the “nation’s maritime sub sector can be a notable contributor to the efforts at poverty reduction, creation of wealth, promotion of skills acquisition and encouragement of entrepreneurship”, noting that the sector has “the potential of contributing at least 10 percent of Nigeria’s GDP in no distant future because Nigeria has the biggest market in Africa.”
The Roundtable Summit discussions centered on the strategic exploitation and harnessing of vast opportunities that abound in the Maritime domain and the envisaged contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) thereby reducing the dependence on the petroleum sector.
According to her, “Nigeria has a vast inland waterway resource estimated at about 3,000 km that can support a vibrant inter-reginal trade. The country is also advantageously located on the coastline corridors of the Gulf of Guinea and the Bight of Benin and has eight littoral states coupled with a growing population and huge market that counters the capacity to stimulate substantial domestic tonnage.”
The Managing Director informed the stakeholders at the Summit that there was need to strengthen requisite skills for greater professionalism through funding and capacity building that would drive the implementation of the abundant maritime resources in the country.She also noted that the Authority was in collaboration with FMWH and the Nigerian Railway Corporation in order to increase the latter’s market share in the wheel of cargo evacuation from the ports.In doing this, the Authority advocates critical traffic management framework, collaboration with Inland Container depots like that of Kaduna for swift cargo evacuation to the northern hinterlands.
The NPA equally encourages Stakeholders in the areas of Traffic Management Frameworks for stemming the gridlock across board, automated truck management system exemplified by holding bay with an efficient call-up systems. She suggested