By Thompson ABISOLA
The Director General (DG) of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, said on Tuesday that the agency was addressing the issue of maritime security to make Nigerian ports more attractive.
Peterside, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said that maritime security challenge increases the cost of doing business and reduces competitiveness.
‘According to him, for us in NIMASA, we are doing a lot in conjunction with our partners to address the issue of maritime security.
“We aware that if we don’t address maritime insecurity the cost of goods coming into Nigeria will not be competitive.
”The freight is usually more expensive, the insurance is more expensive, and almost at world risk level, so the only way to bring down insurance, is to bring down the cost of freight.
”The only way to bring down the cost of goods and services is to address the issue of maritime security,” he said.
He, however, said that the challenge in the port is not the number of agencies in the port but the ways they operate, noting that government was taking proactive steps in harmonising their operations.
According to him, the passage of the National Transport Commission bill is also to address the issue of competitiveness in our ports and goods coming in and out of Nigeria.
”The NTC will not solve all the problems but it will address economy regulations issues such as competitive trade, fair trade, consumer protection, those are the things it will address.
”There are other regulatory issues that it won’t address, like the gaps in infrastructure or deficit in infrastructure, that one we need more funding, we need to identify all the issues.
”We need to invest in infrastructure, we need to build partnership to improve our infrastructure but as long as we don’t invest in infrastructure it won’t be competitive,” he said.
The NIMASA boss expressed dissatisfaction with the security on the waterways, saying that the agency has a two-year agreement with an Israeli company to provide equipment and training.