The Minister for Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has set a revenue target of 500 Billion Naira for the Maritime sector and lampooned the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan for running the economy of the country into a lurch.
Speaking at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council/ Tell Maritime Summit, Amaechi disclosed that; ‘My target is 500billion and I am sure that some people will be laughing in their minds that this man must be joking, you will see changes in the sector if we are unable to meet that target, the only way there won’t be change in officers in the sector is if we meet the target. If we achieve it we will set another target for ourselves, because we can’t achieve the target if there is no reform in the sector.
Nigeria is like a mother who is breastfeeding, everybody is sucking the breast-milk without replenishing the mother so that the mother can continue to produce more milk. Now the breast-milk is finished.
The Nigerian maritime sector must bring some of the milk that will be used to replenish the mother, and for me the target is N500b, if we don’t meet the target, I will ask the president to allow me hire new men that will help me achieve it. If we can achieve N500b target this year, then there must be reform in the sector, whatever is not working to help achieve the target will be removed.
If the past government had continue, by now you wouldn’t have even had money to continue, if you have all agreed that we need to embrace change, then by June or July we need to have another of such meeting on how to move the maritime sector forward.
If you think that the corruption in the maritime sector has stopped with the emergence of this new government, the answer is no, if you think that corruption in the transportation sector has stooped with the emergence of this new government, again the answer is no, we all need to sit and agree on the right thing to do to allow those who van make legitimate money to come into the system and make the money.
The kind of change I am looking for is the change that will generate revenue for the maritime sector for the interest of Nigerians and not for a few Nigerians to be carting away our resources.
Commending the management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Amaechi said it is a good thing that the council was able to partner with Tell Magazine to bring the event to life.
‘Today’s meeting is good and is key, I must thank the management of Tell and the Shippers’ Council for this laudable project, and it is commendable’ he said.
I am looking forward to a stakeholders’ meeting where there will be a serious discussion on how to move the maritime sector forward. The railway sector is moving forward, we are commissioning the Abuja-Kaduna rail line in June, we will test run it by March when the coaches would have arrived. Before the end of the year, we would have commenced the construction of the Lagos to Kano standard gauged Rail-line.
Amaechi said that before the end of 2016, there would be normal operation of rail line between South-South and South-West.
He said that this would reduce traffic on the road.
The minister said that the Federal Ministry of Transport was working with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to move cargoes through Lagos to Calabar, Akwa-Ibom, Lokoja and other seaports in the country.
He said that there was need for practical steps in formulating a holistic policy that would address a number of issues and difficulties facing the industry across the board, including ineffective laws.
Amaechi bemoaned poor infrastructure, human capacity challenges and lack of political will to engineer fundamental reforms.
Hopefully we should also be able to commence the Lagos-Calabar Rail-line, if we are able to do those two rail lines, we would have taken care of half of the country transportation woes by rail as the movement of goods and services would have improved.
We are also in talk with some Chinese companies to see how we can be able to move products from either Lagos or Port-Harcourt to Onitsha-Lokoja by sea and to a sea port that is completed in Niger.