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Nigeria needs bigger ports to meet increasing trade volumes –Capt. Iheanacho

…CIoTA calls for support from government

President Chartered Institute of Transport Administration Nigeria (CIoTA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (left) and Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho in a Press Conference at the ongoing maiden National Transportation Summit organised by CIoTA at the Shehu Musa Yar ‘Adua Centre in Abuja.

Concerned by the state of the nation’s transport infrastructure
despite increasing trade volumes, the Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited,
and former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, has urged the Federal
Government to expand the nation’s ports infrastructure, access roads and
provide connectivity to the hinterlands.

Iheanacho who spoke on Wednesday, at the ongoing National
Transportation Summit organised by the Chartered Institute of Transport
Administration (CIoTA) Nigeria, stated that the nation had to improve transport
infrastructure to meet the 4% annual increase in world trade volume, which has
also affected Nigeria.
He stressed that the shipping industry has played a significant
role in taking millions of people out of poverty around the world; therefore,
he urged the Nigerian government to invest more in infrastructure in order to
create wealth and allow the citizens feel the impact of the enormous
opportunities in shipping via poor infrastructure.
Noting that Nigeria’s revenue base has grown as a result of
crude oil sale over the years, he warned that it would be wrong to continue
spending such revenue on imported goods, rather than improving the size of ports
available in the country.
Accordingly, he said, Remember
that we have to maximize these ports for our need as well as to serve landlocked
countries like Chad. Nigeria should look at the trade needs and develop ports
to serve those needs. The demand factor we should focus on is the underlying
trade.

“How do we compare the volume of trade in 1959, 1969 and
consistently over the years? If the trade has doubled over this period, then
there is need to have ports infrastructure improved proportionally.”
Despite the numerous transport infrastructural challenges in the
country, he urged CIoTA to see the annual 4% growth in world trade as an opportunity
to explore avenues to position the nation’s transport sector to benefit from
the trade.
Capt. Iheanacho also noted that Nigeria should prioritize
development of human capacity in shipping rather than acquisition of vessels,
stressing that ships could be mismanaged if the operators lacked the requisite
skills to gainfully manage them.
Proffering solutions, he said: “What improvement have been
made on the Lagos port access roads? What we advocate is dynamism. We have to
consider these options.”
Meanwhile, the President of CIoTA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured
that CIoTA would take up the responsibility of advocacy to address the numerous
challenges as a support for government to realise its objectives as government
cannot do it alone.
Dr. Jamoh said that the professional body would engage all
relevant government agencies and critical stakeholders in a bid to improve
transport infrastructure and human capacity development.

infrastructure linking hinterlands over the years? On Creek Road
in Apapa, you would find numerous obsolete buildings that the government could
buy, demolish and convert those places into marshalling areas for cargoes.

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