Poor utilisation of Africa’s waterways stunts trade growth in the continent- Expert
Shall-Holma, a former Director in the Nigerian Shippers’Council, observed that deepening trade entails making use of every mode, linkage and transportation mode available to ensure goods were moved from one place to the other.
According to her, there are endless opportunities in the area of water transportation for goods that can be opened up to enhance trade in Africa.
She said that Sealink was looking at exploiting the rivers that could be used for shipping cargoes across Africa.
She said that the Nile river, which was about 6,650 nautical miles in length, flowed down to Ethiopia and sometimes beyond the Blue and White Nile.
“So, these are tributaries that are actually flowing into the Nile. If we open up that as we have already started talking to the Zambezi and talking to Tanzania.
“If we open up that and Egypt re-echoes the development, you know what will happen to the entire eastern flank of Africa.
“In West Africa, we have the Congo River that is just below us and the Niger River. Niger River is a very long river, it’s actually only shorter than the Nile River.
“So we are proud we are sitting on the Niger River and we must utilise that opportunity because it is an opportunity that has been with us.
“The British came and used it for well over 100 years. But we have just come and we are looking at the fishes, the tilapia and the croakers that are in the river.
“And we do not know that can open up a new window, a very fresh window for growth and development. Nothing grows a nation like connectivity and accessibility.”
She also said that a feasibility study was carried out on the coast of Namibia all the way to Senegal in the West and Central African sub-region.
Also, there was the possibility of linking some of the islands that were on the Atlantic Ocean to enhance trade along that region.
She added that it would be more profitable for any shipping link to take in all the cargo that it could take on the Atlantic Ocean.
She said this prompted the organisation to show interest in Cape Verde in the Northern Atlantic, Sao Tome and Principe and then Equatorial Guinea, in the Gulf of Guinea.
She said this was done to confirm the veracity of the claims of importers and exporters, that cargoes leaving West Africa were going somewhere else for trans-shipment.
According to the chairperson, this will amount to double or triple costing.
She, however, said that most of the countries along the West and Central African subregion were now very proud to claim that they have better ports and infrastructure.
Shall-Holma added that they had also improved their logistics and their value chains were at nearly 50 percent to 60 percent.
Sealink Project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement established to promote the development of a regional maritime company that would remove the bottlenecks and non-tariff measures along the ECOWAS trade corridor.
It was conceived based on the need of importers, exporters and shippers to create a value chain that would sustain the economy of Nigeria and develop additional networks to trade with other African countries.
Traffic gridlock returns to Apapa port as Federal government closes Total bridge for maintainance works
“Given the impact the closure will have on Port users, the Authority in partnership with LASTMA, Police, FRSC, and the Nigerian Navy have worked out alternative routes and are on the ground to manage the traffic situation in the affected areas.
“The Authority wishes to solicit the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders as we continue to support measures to mitigate the temporary disruptions, the NPA pleaded.
NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters
The eyewitness reporter
Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.
“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.
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