The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, Patrick Asadu (PDP-Enugu) on Tuesday in Abuja said Nigeria’s maritime sector had potential to generate about N8 trillion annually.
Asadu said this at the committee’s interaction with heads of agencies and parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Transport.
He said that he was sure of the viability of the maritime sector, adding that if properly harnessed, the sector would be a great contributor to the growth of the nation in terms of employment and revenue.
``I believe without doubt that the Nigerian maritime industry has the potential to contribute largely to the economy of the country in terms of economic growth, all of which will translate to higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the country.
``Whereas the national budget of our country is about N4 trillion, it has been projected that the maritime sector could contribute about N7 trillion to N8 trillion annually to the economy.
``The maritime sector therefore could become a veritable source of revenue even exceeding oil and gas,’’ he said.
Asadu said that there was the need for the seaports in the country to be strengthened, pointing out that there was ‘’huge room’’ for improvement.
‘’We must diligently work towards ports’ reform, improved cargo handling and better turn-around time by the agencies,’’ he added.
He assured that the committee would intervene where concession reforms were executed in breach of existing laws.
He also restated the need for the review of existing laws and policies that regulate the maritime activities as well as improvement of infrastructural facilities and entrenchment of international best practices.
He listed pre-shipment inspection, government and private jetties, shippers’ interests, freight forwarding and clearing and the regulation of our ports and compliance with safety procedures as the ‘’best practices’’.
In his contribution, Director-General of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr Omar Suleiman, canvassed for speedy passage of the proposed Ports and Harbour Authority Bill pending at the National Assembly.
Suleiman said that the speedy passage of the Bill was crucial in boosting the efficiency of ports operation and enhanced revenue generation for the organisation.