As part of efforts to ensure Nigeria gainfully harnesses its maritime sector worth over $9trillion, the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) has called for the appointment of a maritime professional as the next Minister of Transportation.
The President of MARAN, Mr. Godfrey Bivbere made this appeal in a press statement issued on Wednesday, even as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu concludes plans to unveil his Ministerial cabinet.
According to Bivbere, the nation’s maritime sector holds immense potentials to transform the economic fortunes of the nation via higher revenue generation, massive employment and other gains that will be gainfully harnessed with a Transport Minister who fully understands the sector.
His words: “When we talk about the effective utilization of the Nigerian waterways for barging and river ports or transporting passengers to achieve a balanced transport system in Nigeria or we stress the significance of quick turnaround time for ships at Nigerian ports and speedy evacuation of cargoes from ports using multimodal approach; all these issues have far-reaching effects positively and negatively that could be addressed by a Transport Minister who is a maritime professional.”
The MARAN President, however, opined that some of the major challenges attributed to the suboptimal performance of the Nigerian ports and other aspects of shipping are linked to leadership failures which result from the appointment of non-professionals.
Meanwhile, at a recent maritime summit organized by MARAN on the deplorable state of port infrastructure, one of the recommendations was that; “technocrats and industry experts should be appointed to lead maritime agencies to ensure persistent development of the port sector driven by quality leadership.”
Nigeria’s foremost Maritime beat association, MARAN equally observed that within the last 8 months, the immediate-past Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Jaji Sambo was able to make strides towards repositioning the nation’s seaports, inland waterways and river ports, as well as dry ports.
The association noted that the former Minister had over three decades work experience in the maritime sector having started his career at Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) before moving to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) where he rose to the position of General Manager.
While wishing President Tinubu an impactful administration, MARAN reassured the presidency of its partnership and promised to prioritize solution-based journalism to tackle critical challenges plaguing the nation’s maritime sector.