Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the mandate of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is not to generate revenue but to act as a regulatory body to ensure maritime safety and security.
Amaechi stated this in a statement by the ministry ‘s Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr Eric Ojiekwe on Saturday.
Amaechi who spoke at the final session of the 5-day National Council on Transportation (NCT), held in Kano, said, “People put NIMASA under pressure that they must make money; make money for what because NIMASA actually is a regulatory authority, not for them to go and look for money.”
“The people that should be making money and they must hear it now is the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). It is their responsibility to make money.
“NIMASA should therefore focus on being a regulatory authority on the issue of safety and security of our waterways.”
While expressing dismay over the inability to convene the NCT for the past three years due to economic downturn and advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister, however, expressed optimism that critical decisions bordering on transportation will be addressed at the summit.
“Transportation is essential to sustainable development as it enables access to employment, business, education, health services and social interactions. The prosperity and well-being of the developing and developed world are inseparably linked to transport as such, President Muhammadu Buhari has made issues relating to transportation as one of the top most priorities of his administration,” he said.
On the state of the Dala Inland Dry Port, the Minister said the Federal Government will not commission the project if it does not see a completed primary school offering free education to the many out-of-school children in the area.
“I want the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to note this because that’s the agreement we had with the concessionaire. Shippers’ Council, you can charge whatever you want to charge for the dry port but part of the profit that they make in the dry port will go to the up-bringing of those children,” he said.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said Nigeria has an opportunity to leverage its geographical position, its large domestic market and industrial capacity to become the transportation hub for Africa, but this prize will not be easily won, hence, much work needs to be done to actualize the potential.
According to her, it will require smart, rigorous, foresighted planning and swift, diligent execution across all modes of transportation.
Also speaking, Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Nasiru Gawuna, said he is impressed by the selection of the theme of this year’s Council on Transportation meeting- The Sustainable Development as a Panacea for National Development.
He said, “The theme gives me the impression that we are on the path of overcoming national development challenges. This is based on the fact that the transport industry is one promising sector that if exploited optimally, will stimulate the needed economic transformation in our country.”