…assures barge operators of automated barge operation App
Hon. Udeze Ernest Okechukwu, candidate contesting for Ideato North Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly under the umbrella of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2023 elections, has promised to upgrade the standard of barging operations in Nigeria through the introduction of automated barge application.
Okechukwu whose campaign slogan is Okey is okay, also vowed to restore the lost cottage jobs in his constituency in order to put paid to the spate of unemployment ravaging the communities.
He disclosed this in Lagos during a fund raising ceremony organised by members of the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) in support of his ambition in the 2023 election.
The outspoken Okechukwu affirmed that if voted into the state House of Assembly come next year, he will unlock the maritime potentials as well as facilitate installation of constant light in his constituency.
He maintained that with the automated barge application, the country will be able to have accurate data of both import and export cargoes that enter and go out of the country on daily basis.
He added.that it will help Nigeria to plan for development in the industry.
According to him, “I am really glad that my people from the barge operators association of Nigeria came out en-masse to support me and I am happy because this will spur me to do my best.
“When I was a Kid, there were lots of cottage industries that spread round Ideato North, but today, they are no more functioning and I believe it is due to wrong policies.
“Again, there is no industry that will thrive where there is no light and I know that is a lacuna and I will address that.
“Being a technocrat in the industry, I read Maritime Management and Oceanology in FUTO and with that, I am part and parcel of the system.
“I started from freight forwarding and I entered into pure marine logistics which is barging operation
“My main aim is to bring Nigeria maritime industry into the main light to do things differently. When I entered BOAN, things changed because I changed the narrative, I tried to create automated barge application within the system
“Changing the narrative is to implement that and we are still working on it and I will make sure that my dream of automating barge operations in Nigeria has come to stay
“When that takes place, it is going to be the data bank of the maritime industry. You need to be able to account of how many export that left the country and the kind of product it is
“We need to give details of what is leaving this country, the number of empty containers, the quantity of import that came in through barge and other means
“I want Nigeria to have data of importation so that in no distant time, we can be able to forecast what will happen in the industry in the next fifty, twenty, ten years.”
Speaking further, the Imo State House of Assembly hopeful lamented the non-implementation of the Cabotage Law that Nigeria is a signatory to.
According to him, the lacuna has created the loophole that makes foreigners to take over barging operations in Nigeria.
“The Cabotage law is not domesticated here in Nigeria and foreign investors are coming into barge operations whereby out local practitioners are going out of the business because they are coming with single digit loans from abroad and some with free money to compete with us that are locals here. So,we need to protect the industry or else, it will go into extinction,” he stated.
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