The Lagos State Government has pledged to support the Maritime sector in boosting regional integration and national development in the country as well as generating wealth and employment for the benefit of the citizenry.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, gave the pledge at a symposium organised by the Mission to Seafarers, Lagos State, with the theme, “Maritime Industry as a Strategic Driver for Regional and National Economic Development”.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, noted that Lagos State accounts for a substantial portion of the Maritime industry in Nigeria and the ECOWAS sub-region as it is largely surrounded by water, adding that the aquatic potentials available in Lagos had exposed the State to intercontinental trade many years ago; thus it has contributed to making it a cosmopolitan city that attracts people and trade from across the world.
He said, “Towards realising the vision of efficient regional integration and infrastructure growth, there is an urgent need for us as a Government to address the needs and challenges of developing a virile maritime sector that will boost socio-economic growth and development for the benefit of our people and regional integration of landlocked countries. The Maritime industry is a veritable wealth generation and job creation platform that has continued to benefit many people among many other available and emerging opportunities”.
Maintaining that the Maritime Sector has always been a critical factor in the socio-economic, physical and Infrastructure growth of the global economy, Sanwo-Olu pointed out that the earliest commercial transactions were carried out through maritime trade.
“Our administration places a premium on the opportunities available to the State due to its littoral status and we have developed strategies, programmes and initiatives that will ensure the provision of adequate infrastructure and services to enhance maritime trade and transport in the State. Indeed, the water transport and commercial operations is a major factor in our administrations T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda for the growth and development of Lagos Economy in the 21st economy”, the Governor disclosed.
Sanwo-Olu also assured that the State Government is doing all it can to integrate national development for wealth generation and job creation that will benefit all investors in the maritime sector.
The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu, applauded the Seafarers for risking the dangers of the sea to ensure the seamless function of the maritime sector, stressing that the sector has not been given the recognition it deserves.
Governor Akeredolu stated that the symposium was timely as the pandemic had brought economic loss, hence it is an opportunity that will lead to industrial evolution with strategic support to the industry to boost the manufacturing industry and make Small and Medium Enterprises more viable
He urged stakeholders to go back to the drawing board focusing on bureaucratic bottlenecks encountered by maritime industrialists in executing their duties, disclosing that Ondo State has concluded plans to build a deep seaport to support the activities ongoing at Apapa Terminal and Tincan Ports.
Representative of the Seafarers Employers, Mrs. Margaret Onyama Oragusi, lauded the dedication of the Chairman, Mission to Seafarers in Lagos State, Chief Adebayo Sarumi and the efforts of Seafarers, urging them to seize the boundless opportunities in the sector.
While calling for an increase in indigenous ships as the lack of it had cost the local market 99.9% of freight, she appealed that more youths should be groomed and exposed to the sector to fill up the shortage of seafarers and meet the rising demand for trade activities.
Likewise, the Chairman, Mission to Seafarers in Lagos State, Chief Adebayo Sarumi noted that the Mission will continue to work with critical stakeholders like the Lagos State Government to expand the maritime industry in Nigeria and the entire ECOWAS sub-region.
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