Expert says maritime sector capable of sustaining Nigeria’s economy

Dr Olisa Agbakoba

Dr Olisa Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and maritime lawyer, says Nigeria can generate an estimated N7 trillion from the maritime sector if it overhauls its policy, institutional, regulatory and legal frameworks.
Agbakoba stated this on Wednesday in Lagos at a press briefing organised by his Law Chambers.

''There is massive untapped revenue in our maritime sector, estimated at N7 trillion per annum.

"In order to tap revenue from this sector, there will be need to be an overhaul of policy, institutional, regulatory and legal framework," Agbakoba said.

He noted that Nigerian ports had however been uncompetitive because the nation's shipping policy framework was last reviewed 28 years ago.

He said that a lack of shipping regulation had also made ports of other neighbouring countries preferred to Nigerian ports, making the nation lose revenue.

"Nigeria was designated to be a hub for West and Central Africa, with the potential to a Maritime International Centre (MIC).

"But Nigerian ports are being abandoned for those of Benin Republic and Togo.

"This is due to lack of regulation in the sector, which makes Nigeria very unattractive for business," he said.

The maritime lawyer said that the lack of regulation in the sector had led to unilateral port charges and leakages in the system.

He sad that had deprived Nigeria the privilege of providing trans shipment services to landlocked countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso.

According to him, "a forecast states that over 2 million cars are brought into Nigeria daily from neighbouring countries of Benin and Togo."

He said that at a cost of N450,000 Nigeria is estimated to be losing N90 billion.

As a way forward, Agbakoba said his firm would be kick-starting a Policy Dialogue in conjunction with relevant stakeholders on revenue generation from the sector.