FG has made remarkable efforts in trade support infrastructure- Amaechi
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said that the Federal Government has developed trade support infrastructure to boost trade between Nigeria and other countries.
Amaechi made this known at the opening of a two-day Sub-Regional Workshop and Joint Standing Committee Meeting of the Union of African Shippers’ Council in Abuja. The Sub-regional Workshop being hosted by the Nigeria Shippers’ Council is with the theme, Port Concession in West and Central Africa: Impact on Economies of Member States.
The minister stated that the infrastructure included functional railways, roads, establishment of Inland Dry Ports and Truck Transit Parks across Nigeria and these infrastructure have been put in place in order to bring shipping closer to service users in the hinterland.
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari in January commissioned the Kaduna Inland Dry Port as Port of Origin and Destination which was now operational and that Shippers in the North-West Geopolitical Zone were already using it for their trade needs.
While calling on landlocked countries to take advantage of the Kaduna Dry Port which was targeted at providing services to such countries for the carriage of transit goods through Nigerian Seaports, the Minister stressed the fact that high freight rates, arbitrary imposition of surcharges remained key issues hindering the development of international trade in West and Central Africa.
He, however, noted that it required collective responsibility of stakeholders to proffer lasting solutions to tackling these arbitrary and unjustifiable costs and urged the participants to thoroughly examine and evaluate the performance and impact of port concessions on the economies of the sub-region, implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) and Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
He also called on the participants to look at issues relating to port operations as well as Sea-link project which are key to the effective realization of the sub-regional maritime goals, as they also look at important issues that would be raised at the workshop with a view to advising governments of the member States on appropriate regulations and policies which would help nation governments in realising the laudable goals of the sub-regional Maritime industry.
Also speaking at the occasion, Chairman, Governing Council of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Alhaji Mai-Mala Buni, stated that the workshop marked an important milestone for the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC).
He said it was an important milestone in the pursuit of effective and efficient trade and transportation for sustainable economic development in the sub-region.
Buni stressed that the UASC Joint Committee Meeting at the workshop would be used for developing strategies for the negotiation of freight rates and other conditions of shipment of goods carried by sea, and he enjoined participants to arrive at far-reaching resolutions that would be adopted towards efficiency at ports and to maximise full benefits of port concession which would be achieved by taking advantage of the enormous potentials of the regional maritime industry. (NAN)