Maritime activities closed on Friday with the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Usman, giving an indication that the management would audit funds sunk into dredging projects.
Usman made the disclosure to newsmen at the end of her tour of Calabar port, which many stakeholders suggested should be dredged to accommodate bigger ocean-going vessels.
According to her, there is need to look at some of the funds expended on capital and maintenance dredging.
She said that funds used for such dredging projects in the past “should not be that high’’.
“Is good time for us to compare capital dredging and maintenance dredging,’’ the managing director said.
All the three major operators in Calabar port decried the inactivity, saying that they were experiencing 25 per cent capacity utilisation in the port.
The terminal operators noted that they were assured dredging would be completed by December 2006 but this has not been done.
Usman also said that the management was trying to renovate the rail line, which went out of Apapa port.
“We have met with the management of the Nigeria Railway Corporation and we believe there should be a viable route to evacuate goods.
“ We would also repair the access roads. We visited the old Calabar port and indeed we saw that the roads were bad,’’ she said.
She said that the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing, is conducting repair works on access roads to Lagos ports.
On Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Usman said that the authority would prioritise host communities to determine the key areas of CSR to identify the critical projects that would impact on the communities where we generated revenue.
Also in the week under review, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) urged all agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation to patronise the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) to make maritime industry more creative.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, made the plea when the Management of NITT visited the Council’s Headquarters in Lagos.
Bello said that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council had been patronising NITT over the years to upgrade the knowledge of its staff, saying that only knowledge could drive the maritime industry.
“I am calling on the management of NITT to be more creative, concerted and deliberate on what is happening in our economy.
“NITT should be more creative like any enterprise. You have to advertise, you have to compete with other institutions.
“So many mistakes had been made in the past for want of knowledge in the industry and we had suffered for it,’’ Bello said.
He described transportation as an economic journey which should be able to address creation of wealth.
The executive secretary said that there was a lot of deficit in infrastructure, adding that unless there was adequate infrastructure, economic progress would not take place in the industry.
Bello said that the NSC being the Economic Regulator, would focus more on the diversification of maritime operations.
He said that for Nigeria to be the hub of West Africa countries in importation, there was need for Nigerian ports to be competitive.
In his response, the Director-General of NITT, Dr Aminu Yusuf, said that the NSC, as well as the NITT were organisations driven to professionalise the transport industry.
“NITT is marking its 30th anniversary this year and the management deemed it worthwhile to visit our sister organisations to acknowledge their contributions toward the growth of the institution’’ the director-general said.
He described the NITT as the apex multi-modal transportation training and research institution duly mandated to professionalise the transportation industry in Nigeria and beyond.
Yusuf said that the NITT instituted long-term professional programmes and Certificate in Transport and Logistics Diploma in Transport and Logistics Post-Graduate Diploma, among others.
He said that the institution was running short-term training aimed at providing continuous skill acquisition and professional development of manpower in the transport industry.