2014 budget not enough for maritime sector - Operators
Some operators in the nation’s maritime industry on Friday said that the 2014 budget allocation to the sector was insufficient to make it internationally competitive.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the rebasing of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed the sector was under performing in terms of its contributions to the national economy.
Mr. Emmanuel Agubanze, Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Lilypond chapter, said that various projects in the maritime sector could gulp the entire budget of N4.7 trillion.
Agubanze said the resuscitation of the defunct Nigeria National Shipping Line (NNSL) remained a capital intensive venture that needed serious planning.
Mr. Olumide Fatanlu, Chairman, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, (ANLCA), Apapa chapter, said the maritime sector should be well funded to serve as the nation’s revenue strength.
Fatanlu said the country’s over dependence on oil as its main revenue source made it impossible for the nation to develop another revenue cash cow like the maritime sector.
He said the 2013 budget did not make much impact on the sector because the importers were still faced with the problem of clearing their goods on time due to delay in PreArrival Assessment Report (PAAR).
He urged the government to restore the shipping lines, boost training abilities and funding of the sector because the sector had the capacity to jump start the economy.
Chief Chris Orode, a consultant to the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), also urged the Federal Ministry of Transport to pay attention to haulage infrastructure development.
He said that government should consider the development of a maritime truck park from the more than N1 trillion allocated to capital expenditure.