Marine and Blue Economy minister, Oyetola says collapsed maritime infrastructure requires $1 billion to fix

...seeks president's endorsement to mandate scanner in cargo clearance


…seeks president’s endorsement to mandate scanner in cargo clearance

…Kosoko blames stunted maritime growth on non-alliance among stakeholders.

Happy Diamond Age


Segun Oladipupo


The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola has said that the rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure across Nigeria would gulp a whooping $1 billion dollars.

He gave the figure at a maritime interactive session held during the 29th Nigerian Economic Summit by Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Monday.

The Maritime session with the theme: Sailing to Success: Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Potential, was organised to seek solutions to the challenges hampering the growth and desired development of the sector which has been touted to be the mainstay of the economy.

The Minister who sought to revamp the fortune of the sector, called on private sector operators to work with the government to actualise the potentials of the sector.

According to him, he intends to run the sector with private investors and public/private partnership.

His words, “One of the things we are trying to do now is the rehabilitation of all the ports and it will cost a billion dollars and if we don’t do that, the ports will collapse

“One of the problems we have is that we lack maintenance culture.”

Speaking on achieving efficiency in the port sector and engendering real time cargo clearance, Oyetola said the ministry would work.towards getting the endorsement of the president which will mandate the use of scanners at the ports.

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He said that the use of scanners should be imperative in the port even as he wondered how all containers would go through 100 percent physical examination process.

“The use of scanner is imperative and the Customs CG has to buy into what we are saying.

“Attitudinal problems is what we have because even if we have ten scanners and the boys refuse to do the right thing, we are wasting our time.

“We have to get the endorsement of president that scanners must be used at the ports,” he stated.

The minister lauded the initiative of the interactive session calling on stakeholders to seize the opportunity of the interactive session to come up with innovative ideas that can facilitate growth in the sector.

“This wonderful interaction has given me enough insight into some of the problems I already know but we will sit down together and find solutions because it is wrong for anybody to think the minister must know it all.

“I am willing to work with all stakeholders to make the Maritime a better place for all of us. In any case, the expectations of Marine and Blue Economy is so high that we talk of trillion and no longer billions and everybody is looking at us as the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“So, we need to work together to be able to actualise the potentials in the sector. The only thing we have not done is that we have not taken time to harness the potential.

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“All the problems that militate against the industry are what we are looking at now so, I want you to know that we are working so hard to put the policy framework together

“Very soon, we will be talking of launching the roadmap and some of these things will be incorporated in the roadmap.

“We are here tonight to discuss on some of the challenges of the Maritime sector and to advise on some of the policies and innovative ideas to make it the best regionally and internationally

“We understand the critical role the Maritime plays in an economy such as ours. It is imperative that we quickly move towards improving the navigability of the waters, build the draughts of our ports and shift to 24 to 48 hours cargo clearance, ensure adequate connectivity from port to hinterland, efficient road network,” he maintained.

Earlier, Princess Ronke Kosoko, Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Innovations Hub & Thematic Lead, Ports and Inland Waterways, Infrastructure Policy Commission, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) while speaking, called the attention of participants to the rigours that the sector had undergone.

She stated how the sector had suffered neglect in terms of bad roads, road congestion, among other ills.

She therefore charged all private and public sector participants to bear the burden and not leave it for the minister or president alone for the maritime industry to get a respite and harness the potentials to be able to contribute substantially to the $1 trillion economy the president projects.

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Princess Kosoko also pointed out that the problem of the sector has been that stakeholders have been working in competition and not in collaboration hence, the inability for the industry to achieve the targeted goal.

She however admonished participants at the dinner to help bear the burden of revamping the sector rather than leaving it to the president or minister alone.

“When you see Africa and you see Nigeria, you will see opportunities and at the same time, responsibilities. It is a burden on everybody that we must bear because money has to be raised because the presidency says it wants to raise in trillion dollars economy basically saying he wants to double whatever the economy is right now.

“The burden is not on the president or minister alone it is on every stakeholder because global capital has to be raised to stimulate the target economic growth

“The industry has been about competition but not about collaboration and we are here to correct that.

“In my 13 years of maritime experience, everybody wants to do things on their own, become cabals in their own space and they frustrate certain government reforms and maritime cannot get to the destination because each organisation is not linking the other.

“As for me, I believe that the secret of all possibility is speaking with one voice, begin to do whatever we have greed to do in this place, act with one purpose. That is the secret of achieving the renewed hope agenda.”

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