Maritime stakeholders advocate policy initiatives to drive sector

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos


For Nigeria’s maritime sector to be properly harnessed and full potentials realized, right policies formulation as well as thorough implementation is critical.

In the same vein, regulatory agencies and private operators have been advised to synergise in order to change the face of the Nigerian maritime industry.

These were the views of stakeholders at a capacity building workshop organised by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, on Eagle Island, Port Harcourt.

The Keynote Speaker, Dr Godson Agbim, expressed dismay over what he termed policy somersault and lack of continuity in already formulated policies from one administration to the other.

According to Dr Agbim, the maritime sector has a huge potential that can liberate Nigeria from economic recession and shoot the nation into limelight if right policies are formulated and religiously implemented.

“Most times, we have good policies in Nigeria, but the implementation has always been the challenge; for instance, there was a time that government said there should be few agencies at the ports and that everything should be streamlined, that was a good policy; but at the end of the day, we still see some of these agencies operating there,” he stressed.

Capacity building 

Speaking on the workshop’s theme which is “Building Effective Competence Skills For Improved Productivity,” Dr Agbim told participants comprising of seafarers, that requisite skills, adequate knowledge and positive attitude were key to their operations and those of other maritime workers.

“If you must do well on the job and even in life, especially at a time like this in Nigeria, skills, knowledge and attitude (SKA) will go a long way in delivering to you other people’s confidence (OPC) and other people’s money (OPM),” he added.

The Programme Coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Agoro said the need to prepare seafarers for greater opportunities and challenges informed the collaboration with the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria.

Collective agenda

Mr Agoro who described the maritime industry as a collective agenda called for more symbiotic relationship between the regulatory agencies and the private operators.

“In the next five years, we will still be in the same position if we don’t share the future, everybody should not just be minding his own business, we are the practitioners, the regulatory agencies need to listen to us, we need to listen to them and find a melting point where we need to agree so as to move the industry forward,” he reiterated.

Seafaring climate

Another facilitator, Mr Philips Mukoro said the seafaring business in recent times had moved beyond the stereotypes with which some people used to describe the vocation saying it had become a high-paying job.

“Gone are the days when seafaring was an avenue to send people away from home just to get busy, today, a whole lot of professionals have come in, before now, the banks were  the ones paying very well before, but now, the seafaring job pays more,” according to Mr Mukoro.

Two of the participants Miss Hillary Ikuromo and Mr Michael Israel lauded the organizers of the workshop which they believed had opened their eyes to new vistas of opportunities that abound in the maritime sector.

On his part, Mr Chima Nwoha affirmed that “better days are ahead in no distant time for the industry especially in the area of productivity, if all the things we learnt today are put into practice.”

Also, the duo of Messrs Tamunobelema David and Ikechi Nwamala advocated for periodic workshops and training of such kind to change the face of the Nigerian maritime climate and to reflect the 21st century dynamics.