FG sets annual revenue target of N500 bn for maritime sector

 The Federal Government has instructed heads of maritime agencies in the country to meet up with a new revenue target of N500 billion for 2016 or be shown the way out.

 The Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Monday during the opening ceremony of a two-day maritime summit organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in conjunction with Tell Magazine at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.

Amaechi said the shipping sub-sector had the capacity to generate the revenue, describing it as a crucial sector to the nation’s economy and the second revenue earner for government.

He said, “My target to the agencies in the maritime sector is N500 billion.
You will see changes in the sector if that target is not met by the end of the year.

“The only way there won’t be reform in the maritime sector is if they give me N500billion.

“If we achieve it, we set for ourselves another target for next year.

“The only way we can achieve it is to put in place proper reforms. If they don’t achieve that target, I will ask Mr President to allow me hire another set of heads of agencies that will give me what I want.’’

 The minister also explained that the change mantra of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was institutional.

“The kind of change we are expecting is how the transport sector can generate more revenue for government,’’ he said.

 Amaechi said that the petroleum industry which had been the mainstay of the economy depended largely on shipping, without which the product evacuation would be impossible.

He also said that shipping was the backbone of oil and gas productions and marketing.

‘‘Statistics has shown that over 80 per cent of global oil trade is transported by ships, while in the case of Nigeria, it is 100 per cent.

“The shipping sub-sector of the maritime industry is estimated to be worth over 3 billion dollars annually.

“It is therefore expedient to stress that transport is demand-driven and government in its commitment to shipping will consider growth and development of the industry.”

He urged the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, to organise a Stakeholders Forum before July to move the sector forward.

The minister also said that government was recording success in the railway sector with the railway contract between Abuja and Kaduna, which will be commissioned in May.

He disclosed that by March, the railway contract would be test-run. He also said that before the end of 2016, there would be normal operation of rail line between the South-South and the South-West, which is expected to reduce traffic on the road.

Amaechi also said that the Federal Ministry of Transport was working with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to move cargoes through Lagos to Calabar, Akwa-Ibom, Lokoja and other seaports in the country.