The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has clarified that the primary mandate of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is to be the regulator of maritime safety sector and enhance security.
In her speech at the final session of a five-day National Council on Transportation (NCT) held in the commercial city of Kano, she emphasized that generating revenue was not in place in the Act establishing the body.
“People put NIMASA under pressure that they must make money; make money for what because NIMASA actually is a regulatory authority, not for them to go and look for money.
“The people that should be making money and they must hear it now is NPA. It is their responsibility to make money,” he said and urged the agency to “focus on being a regulatory authority on issue of safety and security of our waterways”.
While expressing dismay over the inability to convene the NCT for the past three years due to economic downturn and advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister expressed optimism that critical decisions bordering on transportation would be addressed at the summit.
“Transportation is essential to sustainable development as it enables access to employment, business, education, health services and social interactions. The prosperity and well being of developing and developed world are inseparably linked to transport as such, President Muhammadu Buhari has made issues relating to transportation as one of the topmost priorities of his administration.
“On the state of the Dala Inland Dry Port, the minister said the Federal Government would not commission the project if it did not see a completed primary school offering free education to the many out-of-school children in the area.
“I want NSC to note this because that’s the agreement we had with the concessionaire. Shippers’ Council, you can charge what ever you want to charge for the dry port but part of the profit that they make in the dry port will go to the upbringing of those children.
“Since the last time the council met, Nigeria has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA). The ratification of the AfCTA is a new dawn with significantly positive ramifications for our collective future” she stated.
Represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Saraki said Nigeria had an “opportunity to leverage its geographical position, its large domestic market and industrial capacity to become the transportation hub for Africa, but this prize will not be easily won and there is much work to do to actualize this potential. It will require smart, rigorous, foresighted planning and swift, diligent execution across all modes of transportation.”
Earlier, Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State expressed satisfaction with the theme of this year’s Council on Transportation meeting which is ‘Sustainable development as panacea for national development.’
Represented by his deputy, Dr. Nasiru Gawuna, he said the theme of the meeting gave him the impression that Nigeria was on the path of overcoming national development challenges.
“This is based on the fact that the transport industry is one promising sector that if exploited optimally will stimulate the needed economic transformation in our country,” he added.