'Port Reform Critical to Future of Nigerian Maritime Industry- Bello

'Port Reform Critical to Future of Nigerian Maritime Industry- Bello
Joy Mmereole Okoli

The former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello has said that port reformation is critical to determining the future of the Nigerian Maritime industry.

He made the submission at the 34th anniversary of Maritime Reporters' Association of Nigeria (MARAN), which held in Lagos at the weekend themed: "16 Years of Port Concession: The Pains and the Gains.”

Bello noted that the need for constant review and re-alignment of port concession agreement especially in the light of international trade in commerce is crucial to Nigeria's maritime future.

The former NSC boss said the country cannot stop or even pause, as reformation must be a continuous process.

“The challenges are vast and varied but the prospects are enticing.

“The maritime industry must be comprehensively executed and strategically run as a fundamental economic factor with the target of contributing massively to the economic growth of the country,” he said.

Bello noted that the port reform in Nigeria was necessary, but crammed without regard to other sectors.

“The reform is critical, but not comprehensive and stands the risk of being derailed, curtailed, distorted or even reversed. This is because the legal framework is not dynamic and wholesome,” he said.

Bello said that the government must perform its part as a major driver of the reform.

“The government must build and enhance critical infrastructure in which the port reform is anchored.

“Those critical infrastructure must be deliberately sited to make for co-ordination and linkages, especially inland connectivity. Transport infrastructure cannot be located haphazardly or anyhow.

“The Federal Government must provide conducive operating procedure, ease cost of doing business and fight corruption that threatens to put brakes on reforms.

“The regulatory institutions must be assigned specific roles.

“Concessioning is give and take, the involvement of stakeholders is necessary not only in drafting agreements but in monitoring the tenets of the agreement,” he said.

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