Lib­er­alise rail­way trans­port, de­velop non-oil ex­port, hints to de­velop Nige­ria’s post-Covid-19 econ­omy

Business a.m. - - FINANCE & INVESTMENT -

THE NIGE RIAN GOV­ERN MENT has been urged to lib­er­alise the rail­way sys­tem to al­low private in­vestors in the crit­i­cal trans­port sys­tem.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­rian Li­censed Cus­toms Agents (ANLCA) in apo­si­tion pa­per on Nige­ria post-Covid-19 econ­omy, also said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment needs to ur­gently raise ef­forts at de­vel­op­ing the coun­try’s monoil ex­port to cre­ate jobs.

In the pa­per sub­ti­tled, “How best to har­vest postCovid-19 ben­e­fits from the ports,” Tony Iju Nwabunike, na­tional pres­i­dent of ANLCA, charged the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to work to re­store the coun­try’s lost glory in co­coa, palm oil and rub­ber ex­por­ta­tions.

He said, “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.

“Nige­ria as a mat­ter of ur­gency must de­velop non oil ex­ports to keep jobs up. Much more needed to be done in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. As a coun­try, we took an un­for­tu­nate back stage po­si­tion in ex­port of com­modi­ties like co­coa, palm oil, and many other agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. This must re­sume. The value chain from the farms through lo­gis­tics to the ports for out­ward ship­ping will em­ploy more per­sons.

“We as a coun­try, should iden­tify prod­ucts for which we have com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage. Nige­rian made elec­tric ca­bles have been noted for be­ing of higher qual­ity than most im­ported ones. Gov­ern­ment should be the num­ber one buyer of qual­ity made in Nige­ria prod­ucts while en­cour­ag­ing cit­i­zens to do same with­out pro­mot­ing mo­nop­oly and prof­i­teer­ing.”

The ANLCA boss who is man­ag­ing director, Mac Ton­nel Nige­ria Ltd, a com­pany with in­ter­ests in ship­ping, ports and off­shore sup­port ser­vices, said the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment would need to fur­ther cut down im­por­ta­tions.

“Ur­gent steps must be taken to re­fine crude oil lo­cally and stop the im­por­ta­tion of re­fined pe­tro­leum prod­ucts. A good amount of what should have been earn­ings for the coun­try from the sales of crude oil has gone into pay­ment for sub­si­dies on im­ported prod­ucts.

“It doesn’t make log­i­cal and eco­nomic sense for Nige­ria to be buy­ing what she has from out­side sim­ply be­cause she failed to process her crude, could not fix her re­finer­ies and suf­fer­ing shifted dead­lines in com­mence­ment of op­er­a­tions of ex­pected private re­finer­ies,” he stated.

He con­tin­ued, “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.”

Nwabunike called on the gov­ern­ment to take im­me­di­ate and con­crete steps to end wastage of pub­lic re­sources by agen­cies in the mar­itime sec­tor and other sec­tors.

“A lot of gov­ern­ment funds have gone into waste­ful and un­nec­es­sary spend­ing on for­eign trips, bo­gus sem­i­nars and con­fer­ences in costly hotels and many other avoid­able ex­penses. Cut­ting off such ex­penses will not only save cost for gov­ern­ment but will help to get at­ten­tion to rel­e­vant ar­eas.

“Agen­cies of gov­ern­ment in the mar­itime sec­tor are cul­pa­ble in this re­gard with most of the con­fer­ences be­ing mere talk shops, get­ting monotonous and re­peat­ing the same things over and over again with­out tak­ing con­crete ac­tions to quickly im­prove the sec­tor,” he con­cluded

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.