Maritime industry down with non-implementation of policies, says NCS

Mrs Ify Anazonwu-Akerele, DG Nigerian Chamber of Shipping

The Director-General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Ify Anazonwu-Akerele, on Monday said the greatest challenge of the maritime industry was non-implementation of policies.

The director-general recalled that previous administrations had directed that a committee be formed to review the challenges facing the industry, but nothing had been done about the communique produced by the committee.
“We have a lot of policies in place, but implementation is very weak. Many times, we have shouted that the maritime industry is capable of increasing revenue and next to oil,’’ Anazonwu- Akerele said.
She said that government constituted a committee to diagnose what the issues were and how the issues could be addressed.
“The committee sat down for one year and we put together a wonderful report. That wonderful report is just collecting dust till today. If we take up that report and start executing all the points, there is no way we will not make significant progress,” she said.
She urged stakeholders in the industry to engage in advocacy, so that government would give the industry the desired attention.
The director-general said that though the maritime industry was potentially viable, investments had not been high because returns would usually take a long time.
“The maritime industry is so potentially viable but has not achieved its purpose because stakeholders have always depended on government to drive it. There has been lack of interest because it is a long-term thing. So, it really does not encourage investors. I do not even know what is going to happen now because the focus of the government now is in other areas. So, the stakeholders should continue to speak out.
“The Chamber of Shipping is going to be very concerned by creating a platform on which we can speak out. It is the private sector, like in other countries, that will now take the bull by the horn and make sure that the industry thrives for government to now come in,’’ she said.
She expressed the hope that appointments into various positions in the industry would not be politicised but done to bring in people with vast experience to help the industry grow.
Anazonwu-Akerele said that considering the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari, who wanted a vibrant economy, the industry looked forward to receiving him during an industry session.
According to the director-general, such first-hand exposure would convince the president better on the viability of the maritime industry to generate revenue for the nation’s economy.