Am Not Aware of Turning Orashi River to S’East Port, Says Transport Minister


Spread the love
*As NSC boss promises to ensure implementation of new shipping technologies does not increase shipping cost
*Sambo restates determination to disburse CVFF
By Francis Ugwoke
Transportation Minister, Engr Mu’azu Sambo,on Thursday denied knowledge of a project involving dredging of Orashi River to the Atlantic Sea to serve as the first seaport in the South East region,
This was as the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, assured that the Council was committed to ensuring that the added cost thrown up in the implementation of new technologies does not increase the cost of doing business at the nation’s ports..
Reacting to a statement credited to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State that the approval by the federal government followed the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state, Sambo said he was not aware of the project.
Sambo spoke during an interactive session with newsmen on the occasion of the World Maritime Day Celebration .held in Lagos.
He said, “I was in the US when the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, sent me a text to confirm this and I asked the Permanent Secretary who also said nothing like this in the Ministry.
“I know the Orashi River is an inland waterway and it falls under the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). I have not been able to reach the NIWA MD.
“Also, I have not been able to reach the governor who is my friend to know whether it is the state government that intend to do the dredging,”
The Governor was quoted saying, “when completed, the seaport will complement the economic activities of the other six major seaports in the country which will enable traders from the zone to import and receive their goods directly while enjoying a comparative advantage as well as promote and encourage the business spirit of the people of South East”.
The League of Maritime Editors (LOME) had reacted to the statement credited to Governor Uzodinma raising pertinent questions on the project.
In the statement signed by the President, Chief Timothy Okorocha and the Public Relations Officer, Mr Francis Ugwoke, the League while noting that this will be a good project if it is true, all the same, raised the following concerns about the planned project.
“First, League which is made up of Maritime Editors wants the governor to provide answer on when the dredging project would be carried out, whether it is to start this year or next year.
“The League also wants to know if the project is captured in the 2023 budget If indeed it is to be executed next year.
“We want to know when the project was approved and the contractor handling the project”, the statement said.
The League equally demanded that the governor gives further clarification on the project in terms of when specifically President Buhari made the promise during his visit to the state.
The League queried, “Did the President make this promise in a closed-door meeting with the governor or during his address at a public function?. The question is based on the fact that no national newspaper or television station which all covered the President’s visit reported the news. Or was the promise made in a letter to the state governor?:”
The statement challenged the governor to come out and state the involvement of the Ministry of Transportation and agencies in the project.
The League raised alarm that the so called project may simply be what the state governor sees as a marketing tool to woo the people of Imo State and the rest of the South East to vote for the ruling party in 2023.
The League suspects that the project may actually be a fraud or another racket, noting that the Orashi River was said to have been dredged in 2012, and wondered what happened there afterwards?

The statement said the governor should as quickly as possible address the concerns raised, while also urging the people of the South East to be wary of such questionable promises and claims by any state governor as the 2023 election nears.
The Minister had in his speech during the World Maritime Day celebration expressed his commitment to the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund.
He said, “Am passionate about CVFF disbursement, there is no need the fund is lying at the CBN, it should be used to support our people. DG NIMASA should support me as the Permanent Secretary is already onboard in this matter. I will engage NIMASA, I give them two weeks to give me the roadmap for the disbursement of the CVFF”

Sambo also.said every effort is being made to put the controversy surrounding the Floating Dock to rest.
He promised to discuss with NIMASA DG on the issue.

“ Am a team player, I don’t believe anyone can do it alone . I will provide the right leadership . All I ask for is for your support”, he said.

In his goodwill message on the occasion, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime said the International Maritime Organization (IMO) theme of ‘New Technologies for Greener Shipping’ reflects the need to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future.

Jime said the ” introduction of the 0.5% sulphur cap by the IMO in a bid to deal with Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) from ships has given rise to concerns on how vessels can comply and how non-compliance will be dealt with around the world’.
He added that the shipping industry was an important economic sector that contributes to more than 80% of global trade.
He promised that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council was committed to “ensuring that the added cost thrown up in the implementation of these new technologies does not increase the cost of doing business at the Nigerian Seaports”.

Jime added, “However, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics, the shipping industry currently accounts for between 2% and 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions and could be 17% by 2050 if left unregulated. Our environment is constantly changing, and as it changes, so does the need to become increasingly aware of the problems that surround and affect it. These environmental problems are prompting the need for renewable and sustainable energy across the world. The theme ‘New Technologies for Greener Shipping’ is one that addresses climate change concerns and other conditions that affect the environment due to shipping activities.

“Ships are crucial to the global economy and over 85% of all the goods and services that enter Nigeria come via the seaports. Considering this, any transition to greener fuels could be expensive, and consumers will most likely be at the receiving end due to the huge technological advancement that is required to adapt to this change.

“The time has come ever than before to have concerted, deliberate efforts of all concerned authorities towards adopting measures, not only to implement, but also to put in place accompanying measures to cushion the effects of this change. Africa’s maritime sector is bound to be affected by the IMO 2020 targets and one of the key concerns of African states is the availability, quality and supply of low Sulphur fuel and whether refineries would be able to meet new demands.

“One of the challenges is that Africa’s maritime sector is still developing and will require resources and capacity-building to strengthen institutions which are responsible for incorporating international conventions into local law, implementing the legislation and policing the environmental legislation.

“I commend the Federal Ministry of Transportation for recognizing the need to create a platform as this where such important matters that affect not only the Nigerian maritime industry but the Global maritime industry and environment at large can be discussed. I encourage us all to be active participants in this Celebration and bring in our best ideas that can have a better impact on the maritime industry.

“Finally, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is committed to ensuring that the added cost thrown up in the implementation of these new technologies does not increase the cost of doing business at the Nigerian Seaports”.


About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email