By Hyacinth Chinweuba
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA) Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman has prompted the National Assembly to pass Ports and Harbours Bill, National Transport Commission Bill and other maritime bills before it to boost port development plan.
NPA, she said, was committed to maintaining international standards in line with global practice through capacity building and exposure of staff to the international scene.
Speaking at a retreat organised by the House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways in Lagos, she said there was an urgent need to pass the bills to replace the existing obsolete laws, which are not supportive of developmental goals of the country.
NPA, she said, was excited about the efforts by the Federal Government to reform and develop other related areas such as Inland waterways and ports, railway and road network to promote inter-modalism, which, according to o her, is very key to the success of the port.
She added, “This forum is coming at a most auspicious time, a time when the President Mohammadu Buhari led Federal Government is exploring ways of diversifying and improving the Nigerian economy.
” I must say that this is a very welcome innovation. This is the first time this kind of forum is being organized by the House Committee. I am particularly happy because it will foster exchange of ideas and collaboration and I hope it will become an annual event as the gains from it cannot be overemphasized.
“I am also grateful that the ports have been identified as key areas of the economy with the potential to put the nation back on the track of economic boom. One of the key objectives of the retreat is to expose the Honourable Members of the House Committee and stakeholders to the dynamics of the maritime industry, which are quite vast.
“It is very gratifying that we can count on the support of this Honourable Committee in our efforts to reposition the ports to play the desired role in the current economic agenda of the Federal Government,” she said.
Usman explained that the objective of the retreat was to ensure that the ports industry remains one of the key areas of focus for economic development and for the National Assembly to be committed in cooperating with the executive to realize the development goals and objectives set for the sector.
She also expressed the belief that the House Committee was concerned about bringing the sector up to speed with international standards desirous in creating suitable synergy between the National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Transport.