The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi has assured that the Federal Government is committed to building a virile platform through the implementation of policies and programmes that will further enhance the contributions of the maritime sector to the national economy.
The minister added that the Federal Government has signed an undisclosed commercial contract agreement with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), on the Calabar and Port Harcourt coastal rail project segment, which will extend from the Onne Port in Rivers State to boost transportation.
Amaechi, who was represented by Mrs Ijeoma Chijioke Adindu, at the formal inauguration of the executive committee of African Maritime Journalists Association (AMJA), in Lagos, said the Federal Government is desirous of ensuring that the maritime sector played more commensurate role in galvanising the economy of Nigeria.
On the coastal rail line project, the minister added that the project was aimed at fostering a more seamless cargo delivery at the ports.
He said: “In continuation of government’s effort to improve ports efficiency and ensure seamless movement of cargoes within the country, the Federal Government recently signed commercial contract agreements with the Calabar-Port Harcourt segment one extending to the Onne deep seaports of the coastal rail project with CCECC.”
The minister further said that, “the Federal Government is also determined to enforce the provision of coastal and inland shipping (Cabotage Act 2003), which is an important pillar for home grown capacity for the sustainable development of the Nigeria maritime industry.
“This is timely more so when the government is paying attention to promoting the local content of the maritime sub sector by developing indigenous potentials to contribute to the growth of the nation, creating jobs and wealth for our teeming youths for sustainable development”
Amaechi also said the Federal Government and the concessionaires are working assiduously to relieve the seaports of the burden of perennial congestions, “providing opportunities for even infrastructural development, harnessing the potential for consolidation and other numerous economic benefits that abound in the maritime sector.
“Let me state here that the federal government is committed to building a virile platform through the implementation of policies and programmes that will advance the contribution of the maritime sector to the development of the economy.
“Furthermore, exploiting the various opportunities in the maritime sector has the capacity to contribute to the prosperity of African countries by increasing by increasing the Gross Domestic Products (GDP), Per Capita income and also serves as an alternative source of government revenue,” he stressed.
Speaking on the theme of the inauguration, the minister called on African countries to diversify their economy by exploring the opportunities in the maritime sector in order to broaden the revenue base and also provide employment for the teeming population.
“The blue economy is made up of vast resources that are ocean based”.