THE Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed a maritime security strategy to combat sea piracy and other criminal activities on the nation’s coastal and territorial waters. The accompanying cost of the implementation is put at N186 million
Speaking at the one day conference on fast-tracking Port Reforms, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the government decided to move against these criminal elements so as to attract more cargo traffic and investors to the sector. For the implementation of the strategy Amaechi said that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the acquisition of three aircraft, three helicopters, 12 fast moving vessels and 20 amphibious vehicles for that purpose.
He said, “Turning our ports to world class port will not happen now, it will take time but we must start from somewhere,” adding that since inception of the current administration, the goal of government in the reformation of the maritime sector is providing enabling environment for the modernization and expansion of existing infrastructure.
He disclosed that the government is working on the Single Window Project, a one-stop shop for cargo clearance, adding that it will reduce cargo clearance by almost fifty percent. At the one day conference which was organised by The Nation Newspapers, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC) Mr. Hassan Bello, however, stated that the nation’s ports still remain the costliest in the West and Central Africa sub-region. Bello who was represented by Cajetan Agu, a Director in the NSC, also said that while it takes 20 days to clear a container in Nigeria, it takes only seven and three days in Togo and Benin Republic respectively.