2014 budget not enough for mar­itime sec­tor - Oper­a­tors

Daily Trust - - MARTIME -

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.

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