*To acquire 12 speed boats, 3 helicopters, 20 amphibious vehicles
Lagos — THE Federal Government yesterday disclosed a N186 billion maritime security strategy to combat sea piracy and other criminal activities on the nation’s coastal and territorial waters.
Speaking at the one day conference on fast-tracking Port Reforms, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi said that the government decided to move against these criminal elements so as to attract more cargo traffic and investors to the sector.
He added that the era of awarding the monitoring the safety and security of the waterways to one militant was over.
Amaechi also said that the President has approved the acquisition of three aircrafts, three helicopters, 12 fast moving vessels and 20 amphibious vehicles for that purpose.
‘In the next two or three months, you will these items in place so that you will know that change is actually taking place in the country.”
“We promised change. Change is not talked about it is felt, that is why we say please give us time, we did not cause recession but you must give us time to fix it.”
“Turning our ports to world class standard will not happen now, it will take time but we must start from somewhere.”
He noted that increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation’s port system will certainly increase flow of trading activities thereby leading to increased revenue generation for government and resultant boost for the economy.
He explained that since inception of the current administration, the goal of government in the reformation of the maritime sector is to provide an enabling environment for the modernisation and expansion of the existing infrastructure.
According to the Minister, improving the overall efficiency and transparency of the port and maritime transport business through private sector partnership was also part of the goal of government.
He said the government was committed to ensuring that the sector enjoys unhindered operations that will enhance national growth and development.
The minister also said that the government is working on the Single Window Project adding that it will reduce cargo clearance by fifty percent.
Similarly, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Hassan Bello reiterated the fact that the nation’s ports still remain the costliest in the West and Central Africa sub-region.
Bello who was represented by Cajetan Agu, a Director in the NSC also said that while it takes 20 days to clear a container in Nigeria, it takes only seven and three days in Togo and Benin Republics respectively.
He also disclosed that while cargo begin to attract demurrage after five days in Nigeria, in Cotonou and Lome it does so after ten days.