*Called for Private, Public Sectors Partnership
By Silas Onuoha
The Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemisola Saraki has said that her visit to Lagos was to take stock of the two ports in Lagos APAPA and TINCAN, which were in dire need of repairs.
Speaking at the Ministerial Consultative Meeting with the Media at Eko Hotels in Lagos on Friday, Senator Saraki called for Private and Public Sectors Partnership (PPP) to create an enabling environment for (AFCFTA) to thrive.
“The state of the ports in Lagos made my move imperative, and the ministry seeks a closer relation and synergy between the private and public sectors in ensuring an enabling environment that business can thrive.
” For the Country to reap “from African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), we need to make the ports more competitive. The largest number of cargoes come to Nigeria, we need to take advantage of that, Saraki said.”
Going future the Minister informed that, the blue economy could create lots of jobs in the Maritime sector, emphasizing that if the country did not have oil, Maritime
would be the next biggest sector of the Nigerian economy.
“We need to take advantage of what God has given to us and there are many ways we can engage our youths in employment in the sector. The floating dockyard for example is an area that can provide jobs for the youths, it has been estimated to provide up to 20,000 jobs, we have gone to the Naval Dockyard to see how best we
can put it to use.
Senator Gbemisola Saraki however
frowned over the non-disbursement of the Cabotage
Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) currently valued at 350 million dollars nearly 30 years after it was created, describing it as a national shame.
“It is disheartening, a national shame to see that nothing has changed as regards the CVFF, it has to be disbursed, especially with the commencement of AfCFTA as the country needed vessels to trade.
I assure you that before the end of this administration, we will have the Cabotage Vessel Financial Fund (CVFF), which has gone up to 350 million dollars, and also the National Transport Policy.”
The Minister disclosed that the guidelines for the disbursement of the fund have been formulated and would soon be presented to the National Assembly for approval, which would immediately be followed by the actual disbursement of the funds to the already shortlisted beneficiaries.