Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting
Edo, Nigeria – Stakeholders in the Maritime sector, have bemoaned the dearth of infrastructure, inadequate flag administration, security concerns and regulatory bottlenecks confronting it.
They also said that unfavorable fiscal policies, inadequate funding, and inadequate supply of skilled personnel are other impediments to the growth of the industry
The experts stated this in Benin at the 14th Annual General Meeting and Lecture of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA) where they also elected a new leadership for the association.
Delivering the keynote address titled “Urgent regulatory reform in the maritime industry: Setting the agenda for the new administration” the Chairman, Benin River Port, Eng. Greg Ogbeifun called on the managers of the new Ministry of Maritime and Blue Economy to be willing to listen to advice and make the right decisions.
He however said “They have not started well, we wish industry practitioners were brought into the top leadership to head but again we are grateful that the administration of President Bola Tinubu has set up that ministry, they have appointed the people they want to appoint, we all have to try and help them but after that first appointments, in the immediate layers, the people there should be professionals but I hope they are ready to understand the sector and take decisions on that”
Again, he said. “Although the maritime industry is Nigeria’s economic center of gravity and offers great opportunities for the growth and development of the nation, the industry is plagued with numerous challenges including regulatory bottlenecks, poor maritime infrastructure, inadequate flag administration, security concerns, unfavorable fiscal policies, inadequate funding, and inadequate supply of skilled personnel to name a few.
“As Nigeria ushers in a new administration, the need for urgent regulatory reforms in the maritime industry is essential to set a robust agenda that will address the challenges and unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s maritime and shipping industry.”
Earlier, the president of NMLA, Mrs Funke Agbor (SAN) while commending the Edo State government for its support for the meeting, said the association has been at the forefront of ensuring that maritime related legislations and treaties which Nigeria is signatory, are domesticated to boost the industry just as she urged practitioners to explore the opportunities that the new ministry provides.
She said “Now that the government has established that (new ministry), then it is for us to ensure that we take advantage, equip ourselves, equip all the clusters that make up the maritime industry so that government is made to create the enabling environment sufficiently for us to be able measure and take government on account of what they will do.”