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NPA MD Usman

NPA may review 14 day quarantine as Orakwusi seeks support for fishing firms

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has flagged up support systems to encourage vessel maintenance and dry-docking in Nigeria.

Giving emphasis during a recent interactive session on Webinar tagged: “Covid-19 And The Nigerian Maritime Sector: Lessons And The Way forward”, NPA MD, Hadiza  Bala Usman explained that NPA has “given a waiver for movement of vessels that are meant for servicing and dry-docking in Nigeria”.

Business Hilights recalls that the Webinar meeting, organized by Mike Igbokwe Law firm had   representatives of strategic stakeholders in the maritime sector in attendance.

In his remarks, Bala Usman said: “This has enabled vessel owners to competitively dry-dock and service their craft in Nigeria. This is very important for us to retain and build that sector.

“We have done our bit in promoting that sector and I will call on the association to bring any other area where Government can help and intervene in keeping that Business in Nigeria and develop necessary skills”.

In her submission, seasoned maritime investors, Lawyer and Chairman Maritime Trade Group, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture,  Mrs Margret Orakwusi advised the Nigerian Government to develop the fishery sector while calling on Banks to provide necessary funding.

Speaking on what NPA is doing to curtail Covid-19, Hadiza Usman argued that “Some of the submissions that we’ve had from the Presidential Task Force revolve round having vessels wait for 14 days from any country that has above a thousand infections.

“We have been engaging with the Presidential Task Force to review that because we are all within the sub-region. Everywhere indeed have pass those numbers and we cannot keep saying vessels coming from Tema or any neighbouring port need to stay at anchorage for an additional 14 days. This I must say is a big concern that has been on going with the shipping companies.

According to her, “One of the things that we have learnt and understood is the need to prioritize and ensure that the ports remains open, prioritize the need to provide the necessary developments, recognize that you must learn to accommodate some challenges attributable to process, attributed to certain equipment required to conduct the necessary operations.

“I think these are some of the things we have learnt and we will continue to learn everyday and because we have different types of guidelines coming up on a daily basis, I think we all need to remain on our toes.

“They (World Health Organisation)can bring out a position today and another one tomorrow and recognizing that this is global virus and understanding that everybody and indeed scientists are struggling to grasp what it is.

“We need to remain alert, remain very conscious and also be dynamic enough to go on with the flow however it goes”.

In his contribution, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Office of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, was quick to challenge stakeholders in the maritime sector to embrace virtual ports operation as part of measures to fast track development in the sector and the larger economy.

Others on the panelists were Mrs. Orakwusi, Aminu Umar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sea Transport Group Limited, Chief Uju Nwabunike, President, Association of Nigeria Customs License Agents, ANCLA, represented by Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila National Secretary of the Association, Captain Adewale Ishola, Former President of Nigeria Association of Master Mariners, among other participants.

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