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Expert says only functional port plan will address challenges in Nigeria’s maritime industry

Maritime Lawyer, Osuala Nwagbara

A maritime lawyer, Mr Osuala Nwagbara, on Monday said that only a functional port plan
could address the challenges bedeviling the nation’s maritime sector.

 Nwagbara, who is also the Secretary, Planning Committee of  the Nigeria Maritime Expo(NIMAREX) 2015,
made the assertion in an interview in Lagos.
He said the
incoming administration should ensure a repositioning of the maritime sector by
considering a workable policy framework that could help to articulate the
principles and objectives that are being sought.
He said the
perennial gridlock in Apapa was a great challenge to trade development, which
could be addressed with a purposely-designed port master plan.
 “What I think that the incoming administration
should do with a view to repositioning the maritime industry is to look at the
policy framework for the maritime industry in Nigeria.
“As it
stands today, I can tell you authoritatively that Nigeria does not have a
maritime policy.
“Normally,
it is the policy that provides the framework within which the maritime system
thrives. 
“Look at the
laws in developed countries; the laws begin by articulating the principles and
the objectives that are sought to be attained in the law that seeks to regulate
an aspect of the maritime industry in view. 
“It goes on
to pronounce the policy of government to put in place rules, regulations to
attain those policies; all of these will form part of that law and you have
provisions within that law to attain those objectives.
“The issue
on ground today; the traffic gridlock we have in Apapa, we don’t have a master
plan for development of ports in Nigeria, therefore, we have made every
waterfront a port without considering the implications for other developments
within these areas that we have converted into ports overnight.”
He said that
the definition of port by the NIMASA Act for instance, virtually made every
tank farm a port since the Act defines a port as any place where a ship could
berth and discharge its cargo.
Nwagbara,
however, said that a holistic port master plan would consider the effect of a
port location on the environment, as well as consider other challenging issues.

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