The President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Capt. Tajudeen Alao has advocated for more engagement of the maritime stakeholders by the various government agencies in the industry in the year 2019.
Alao who stated this recently in Lagos, however added that the engagement should be done on group by group basis rather than the usual practice where all the industry stakeholders were gathered at one venue in order to engage them adding that that would not be enough.
“It should be one on one engagement with these different groups like the Master Mariners, clearing and forwarding, shipping agencies, ship owners, stevedore, terminal operators and so on to know their problems and to see how we can move forward. It is very tasking but it is very important not when you gather everybody together and you start unfolding your plans. Some people cannot have the ability to express their problem”.
“It doesn’t have to be an elaborate event at Eko Hotels and all that, it is not something that will involve a big breakfast. Our people are looking for funding of the industry but funding of the industry towards what purpose? There are many platforms that have no job, these platform that are laid up in Abattoir in Port-Harcourt, in Warri, Eastern bypass, Kirikiri, you need to engage the owners (of these platforms) to see what assistance you can give to them. They have gone through this recession, how do we bring them up?”
He continued, “Even if the training institutions are being plugged up, they are producing for whom and for what? Production should be according to the need of the industry.
“You cannot take a pleasure boat offshore Lagos, you cannot take a pleasure boat out at sea in the evening because the security is not there whereas in those days, in the evenings, you can see boats on the water with people, people can relax and do many things. Then how do we make passenger traffic from Lagos to Warri, Lagos to Port-Harcourt?
“All these luxurious buses, the loads they are carrying to the eastern parts of the country can easily move by water to an area in Port-Harcourt where there is no port, just a jetty where they can take their goods out easily and 24 hours, they will be in Port-Harcourt and then they can move out their goods from there. Since they are Nigerian goods, it doesn’t have to be designated port, they can create somewhere where this thing can be executed. We need to encourage coastal trade”.
Alao further pointed out that these were the problems for which solutions could be attained seamlessly if the various government agencies saddled with one responsibility or the other in the maritime engage stakeholders in their small groups and discuss way forward.
He argued that it is only when this was done would the industry make appreciable progress and deviate from the past where it used to be much talk and no action.