Ship owners, under the aegis of African Ship Owners Association (ASA), have called on the Federal Government to create conducive environment to encourage investment in ships to trade on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The Secretary General, ASA, Funmi Folorunsho, disclosed this at the yearly conference of Women In Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica Nigeria) held in Lagos.She said since the signing of the agreement, nobody had said anything about the stand of the maritime industry and the inherent benefits.
The Federal Government had on Monday announced the total closure of land borders, thereby leaving the seaport as the only alternative to regional trade.Folorunsho pointed that there should be policy development towards this, urging WIMA to chart the course to ensure that adequate provisions were made in that respect to facilitate continental shipping trade.
“There are cargoes to carry and with the signing of the AfCFTA agreement, this is time to invest in shipping,’” she said.Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, said that the maritime strategy of 2050, by WIMAfrica, focused on building Africa’s blue economy was apt, promising that government would provide all the necessary support to the realisation of the agenda.
Saraki, who was represented by Aisha Musa, Director, Human Resources of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) pointed that the blue economy was an integral and evolving area of sustainable national development.She, however, called for more focus on providing platforms for training, capacity building, corporate and entrepreneurial development of African women in the maritime sector.She urged women to be determined and persistent in the face of daunting odds.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, called for establishment of special institutions for girls to take courses that relate to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.Bala-Usman, represented by Adams Jatto, General Manager in charge of Corporate and Strategic Communication, NPA, also appealed to government agencies and other stakeholders to increase the tally for girls to enable them tap from the potential in the maritime industry.
The President of WIMA Nigeria, Bola Muse, tasked government on policies to accelerate and empower women in the maritime sector.According to her, there is need for government to work with the association to come up with policies and programme that would accelerate gender equality and empowerment of women in the maritime sector.The Director of Special Duties of NIMASA, Lami Tumaka, advised maritime women to emulate teamwork for better leadership position in the sector.“Women are much more than beauty, they have brains, brawn and ideas and so they should make use of it,” she said.