By Sandra Chukwunyere
|The National President to ANLCA, Mr Tony Nwabunike in a statement in Lagos said that there should not be any fear for job loss in the industry.|
According to Nwabunike, they have watched the shocking and ongoing devastating impacts of the coronavirus disease on various sectors of the economy leading to massive job loss and general quake in the global economy.
He noted that though not completely insulated from effects of the pandemic, the Nigerian maritime industry held potential to serve as the country’s low hanging fruits for economic growth, stability and survival
He said that unlike the aviation industry where government agencies including airlines are either mulling salary slash , workers lay off and shrinking in human capital needs, the maritime industry still holds the ace as indispensable mode for global trade and commerce
“Rather than worry over likelihood of job loss, customs brokers, freight forwarders, truck owners, chandlers and other ancillary service providers in the industry should gravitate towards keeping themselves abreast with virtual presence and operations in the ports.
“At ANLCA we have always advocated for a modern port regime with lesser amount of persons coming into port areas.
“This will now be a fast track drive because persons and businesses can meet virtually, submit,process and receive documents online without leaving the comforts of our homes and offices.
“While the port cannot be virtual, our presence can be. We have been partaking in Webinars where we communicate effectively, take business and corporate decisions without traveling.
“The haulage section will always be there. It cannot be taken over virtually, we only foresee a regime of improved rail services,” he said.
ANLCA President said, the best way to harvest post COVID-19 benefit from the ports was through exports, cutting unnecessary imports, avoiding waste and the need for private investment in rail coaches.
He pointed that for exports,Nigeria as a matter of urgency must develop non oil exports to keep jobs up, adding that much more needed to be done in the agricultural sector.
He said that as a country, we should identify products for which we have comparative advantage, as Nigerian made electric cables had been noted for being of higher quality than most imported ones, government should be the number one buyer.
He called for urgent steps to be taken to refine crude oil locally and stop the importation of refined petroleum products
“That we have cotton but still depend on other countries to produce our clothing needs is a result of fall in the local textile industry. The industry is dying partly due to lack of power as it was discovered that it is cheaper to manufacture textiles outside Nigeria than doing it in the country.
“Our textile industry alone can produce jobs running into millions for a 200m population and exporting to other countries.Rice self sufficiency is still a struggle even after its removal from forex and ban from importation through land borders.
“Whereas the railway is government owned, there is the need to allow private investment in ownership of coaches to move cargoes from dry ports to the seaports and vice versa.
“This mode of transport if encouraged and open for the private sector, will bring about cheaper and safer mode of cargo movement within the country.ReplyForward