President Muhammadu Buhari has called for improved synergy and collaboration among African countries to effectively attain sustainable growth in the continent’s maritime sector.
The President made the call while declaring open the 3rd Conference of the Association of Heads of African Maritime Administration, AAMA, in Abuja on Thursday.
He admonished Maritime Administrators across the continent to continually work together in building strong maritime economies.
Buhari who was represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, noted that the Nigerian government has paid significant attention to making the Nigerian maritime business environment a much friendlier one.
He added that the immediate priority in this regard is the entry and exit of goods especially in Nigerian seaports in order to increase the efficiency of Nigerian Ports and enable quick turnaround time of vessels.
“We recently approved a new maritime security architecture and infrastructure to be jointly coordinated by NIMASA, National Security Adviser and Federal Ministry of Transport,” the President said.
“We have given required support to the Navy so that they can work with others within our sub region to effectively police our waters for trade.
“Technology is also being deployed to make our port operations more transparent and effective in support of economic growth.
“NIMASA, which is the regulatory agency of shipping and maritime activities in Nigeria is being reformed so that it can play its expected role as a facilitator of economic prosperity.
“This arrangement will also contribute to resolving and eliminating piracy and sea robbery in our maritime domain.”
President Buhari also commended AAMA for its vision in using collaborations and synergy to develop the African maritime sector beginning from the National level, regional, sub regional and continental level.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, noted that Africans cannot allow the international partners set and champion an agenda for the African continent.
He stressed that Africa’s water bodies should contribute significantly to the economic and environmental needs of the continent, charging members of AAMA to lead the way in that regard.
The minister called on other African countries to support Nigeria’s quest to return to category C of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO.
Amaechi disclosed that Nigeria has ratified 35 IMO Conventions, gazetted 34 maritime regulations, while several other maritime conventions are at different stages of being either domesticated or ratified.
“What we require to move Africa forward is a concerted and co-operative spirit amongst African.
“That is why it is imperative that maritime administrators and regulators conference of this nature becomes regular to forge needed partnership,” he said.
Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside expressed delight that Nigeria was chosen to host the 3rd AAMA Conference after the first two editions held in Mombasa, Kenya and Sandton, South Africa respectively.
He noted that Nigeria accounts for over 60% of the total seaborne traffic in volume and value in West and Central Africa region, adding that the country is determined to advance Africa’s maritime prosperity.