Nigerian ports’ potential under-utilised, says expert

 

Capt. Fola Ojutalayo

 A Maritime expert, Capt. Fola Ojutalayo on Tuesday said Nigeria had yet to harness the potential of its ports due to some administrative challenges.

Ojutalayo, a Senior Lecturer at the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that only 25 per cent of the capacity of the maritime sector had been harnessed.

``It is very clear that the potentials of Nigerian ports are grossly under-utilised. And I will say that in the maritime sector, we have harnessed only about 25 per cent of our capacity.

 ``So, we still have like 75 per cent or let’s say over 70 per cent to be harnessed.

``We have a lot of issues that need to be critically looked into, which have been the challenges of port operations and management in Nigeria.

``Among all the requirements in any key sector of the nation, the first that needs to be addressed is the issue of human capacity development.

``When you have the right people in the right position then, you can then engineer them to do the right thing in the right direction.

``That need to be by ensuring that we train people in a tailor-made manner to meet the needs of the century as far as port operations and management is concerned,’’ Ojutalayo said.

He said that bureaucracy, lack of political will and administrative hiccups were part of the challenges militating against full utilisation of the potential of the nation’s ports.

He called for a reduction in the number of government agencies operating at the ports, adding that the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) were capable of handling most assignments.


Ojutalayo said human capital development was important in addressing the challenges, adding that it was only by developing human capital that strategic transport planning, which Nigeria lacked, could be addressed.