Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo- Olu, have canvassed support for the welfare of seafarers considering their invaluable contributions to global trade.
This is just as the governors called on government at all levels to pay more attention to the maritime industry and address the challenges bedevilling the sector, as it remains a viable source of revenue that can boost the economy of Nigeria.
The governors made the call in Lagos on Thursday at a symposium with the theme ‘Maritime Industry and Development of Nigeria- Connecting with our Heritage’ organized by the Mission to Seafarers (MtS).
Speaking at the symposium, Akeredolu commended the contributions of seafarers to global trade, stating that there must be collective effort to mitigate the devastating experience they are exposed to while they sail around the world.
“It is on record that over 80 percent of the world’s food, fuel, raw material and manufactured goods are delivered by sea and the services of skilled seafarers are critical to this business.
“We must therefore thank you for running the global economy, risking your lives for our satisfaction, daring various hazards and displeasures that come your way while carrying out your mandate, which is germane to our survival,” he said.
Akeredolu, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu, said it is unfortunate that the maritime industry, despite its critical role in stabilising and ensuring regional and national economic advancement has not been given the true recognition it deserves.
Chief Adebayo Sarumi (middle)presenting a plaque to the Secretary to Ondo State government, Princess Oladunni Odu; and members of the management Committee of MtS in Lagos.
He said in a bid to diversify the economy, the government must give ample opportunity to the development of maritime industry because of its enormous resources that can boost economic growth.
“A strategic support to the maritime industry will no doubt birth an industrial revolution which could lead to a dramatic turnaround in our manufacturing industry and make the small and medium scale industries more viable,” he said.
For the industry to thrive, Akeredolu urged the government to, among other things, simplify the bureaucratic bottlenecks maritime industrialists including port users experience in the course of documentation and delivery procedures at the nation’s ports.
He said there is also a need to put all hands-on deck to ensure effective ship and cargo handling and operations in order to promote regional and national economy in Nigeria.
On his part, Sanwo Olu, said the task before the government is to address the needs and challenges of developing a virile maritime sector that will boost socio- economic growth and development for the benefit of the citizens and regional integration of countries that are landlocked.
Represented by the Commissioner of Transportation, Frederick Oladeinde, Sanwo- Olu assured that his administration will sustain the relations between the Mission to Seafarers and maritime stakeholders to grow and develop the sector.
He said his administration has developed strategies, programmes and initiatives that will ensure the provision of adequate infrastructure and services to enhance maritime trade and transport in Lagos State.
“The maritime industry is a veritable wealth generation and job creation platform which has continued to benefit many people including seafarers, merchant vessel operators, ship chandeliers, import and export cargo brokers among many other available and emerging opportunities.
“It is, therefore, very critical that we sustain the stakeholder relations between our administration in Lagos State and the Mission to Seafarers organization. Lagos State has emerged as a preferred location for investors and tourists because of the available opportunities, hospitable nature of the people and the ease of doing business processes that is guaranteed by the government.
“Our administration will continue to synergise and cooperate with all stakeholders and investors in the maritime sector to grow and develop infrastructure and services that will enhance opportunities for regional integration and national development for wealth generation and job creation that will benefit our people and all investors in the maritime sector value chain,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman, Managemnet Committee, Mission to Seafarers, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, said the essence of the symposium is to sensitize the public on the activities of seafarers and the important role they play with a view to reducing their plight.
“Seafarers as we know are people who work on board ships and the ships are what carried the trade around the whole world. Even though this group of people are extremely essential in the whole world, they are not treated with the amount of respect, consideration and care that should go to such people who keep the entire world and the economy running.
“So, our duty is to call attention locally and internationally to the plight of these people and to see what ways we can prevent them from continuing to suffer in the best interest of the entire world’s trade,” he said.