… As Apapa Local Government laments high Unemployment rate among Indigenous youths***
The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Executive Secretary, Hon. Emmanuel Jime has stressed the need for an effective maritime transportation, to enable the country to rake in adequate revenue required for economic and infrastructure development.
The NSC Chief Executive Officer stated this while presenting a paper at a Ports Users Conference Organised by Maritime Anti Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity Ltd, noting that the maritime industry plays an important role in the economy of nations of the world.
According to him, it is worthy of note that shipping and port operations stand out as the most important boost to a nation’s economic growth and development.
He pointed out that Nigeria being a coastal state possesses great potential to generate huge revenue from both local and international transportation of persons and goods by water.
Jime observed that approximately 80% of the shipping business done in the coast of West Africa is done in Nigeria, noting that over the years ship calls to Nigeria has improved with increased tonnage of about 140 million and estimated payment of above USD7.5 billion.
He explained that available data revealed that a total of 3, 972 vessels with a Gross Registered Tonnage of 125,133,912 metric tons were received in Nigerian Ports, though this is low when compared with the 2019 records of 4,251 vessels with a Gross Registered Tonnage of 138, 577, 463 metric tons.
He lamented sadly that Nigeria’s participation was zero, as most vessels are foreign-owned vessels.
He added that according to available data, Nigeria’s crude exportation in the year 2020 was about 1 million barrels per day with a cumulative worth of USD 30 billion while only foreign-owned vessels benefited from the freight cost of about USD225 billion for lifting the country’s crude.
The NSC boss, averred that the importance of maritime transportation to Nigeria’s economy can be measured through its contribution to the Nation’s Annual Gross Domestic Product, adding that the sector could have a direct, indirect or induced impact on the economy.
Jime declared that the sector serves as an input into every other industry in the national economy as it accounts for about 95% of the movement of Nigeria’s international trade which made 70% of industrial activities in Nigeria to be sited around the port cities of Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
He noted that the sector plays a fundamental role in the exploitation, distribution and export of resources, which further aids in the reduction of spatial poverty and inequality.
In her speech, the Chairman, Apapa Local Government Area, Mrs. Idowu Adejumoke Sebanjo, lamented the high unemployment rate among indigenous youths in Apapa despite the area being touted as the commercial centre of the nation’s economy.
Sebanjo decried the high level of unemployment among employable youths in the community despite the massive revenue being generated from the two ports in Lagos.
This is even as she lamented that none is coming to the Local Government, being the host community to the port.
She informed that on a daily basis her table is flooded with letters for financial help and residents have to grapple with the harassment of the social miscreants seeking jobs.
She also decried the rate at which investments in the port are rotting away because of lack of patronage which she credited to unbearable traffic congestion.
“Since I resumed this office, I’ve come to understand that there’s so much poverty.
People are struggling and have no jobs.
“For us in Apapa, revenue is an issue, unemployment is an issue.
Millions and billions of money pass through my Local Government and none of this money is coming to the Apapa Local Government”, she lamented.
Specifically, she stated that even from the proceeds of the Nigerian Ports Authority electronic call-up system, popularly called ‘eto’, the Local Government does not receive anything.
She was, however, happy that they’ve done some of the roads which are much better, but the trailers are still there. “People have invested so much money.
Look at ShopRite, the same thing with the Amusement park where you can take your children.
They have spent a huge amount of money to build up the place, but who is that parent that will say take my children to Apapa amusement park when the reality is that they are going to spend five hours on the road?
“The miscreants you are seeing on the road, yes today, the money they are collecting on the road is more than what any employer is going to pay them.
So, most of them are not ready to work.
They have seen and tasted the kind of money that they are making on the road.
Even they themselves will frustrate whatever it is that the government wants to do but if we have strict policies, people will fall in line eventually”, she noted.
Also speaking at the event, the co-founder of CBI Nigeria, Mr. Soji Apampa, said the purpose of the conference is to examine the policies, practices, opportunities, and next steps in addressing the lingering challenges in port operations which affect all categories of stakeholders in the maritime sector, including a review of how to expand the current gains and systems reforms in sectors of the industry.
He said: “The conference will evaluate the extent to which the strategies and tools (e.g. Collective Action, the introduction of the SOPs and Grievance Reporting Mechanisms (Help Desk, User Experience Diary), and Learning Management System) deployed through the MACN Nigeria Project have improved institutional compliance practices and the operating environment in the maritime sector, including the outcomes for different stakeholders.
“Key leadership stakeholders. from government, civil society and the private sector will deliver keynote addresses and present data to explain the state of port operations today, implementation of consequence management as part of a wider compliance framework, and capacity strengthening for port officials in the industry,” he said.