Monday , 17 June 2024

Boost Economy by modern technology, we’ve increased Marine revenue from N126Billon to N242 billion for the first quarter of this year, Says Oyetola

Two key agencies with the Marine and Blue Economy ministry raised their revenue profile by 92 per cent, Minister Adegboyega Oyetola said yesterday.

According to him, the earnings by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) grew from N126,359,074,742 in the first quarter of last year to N242.811 billion in the first quarter of this year.

The minister attributed the success to the far-reaching reforms introduced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and being implemented by his ministry.

Oyetola spoke yesterday while presenting his ministerial scorecard as part of activities marking the first year of the Tinubu Administration.

He gave a breakdown of the revenue growth by the four agencies in his ministry, including the NPA, NIMASA, Nigerian Shipper Council (NSC) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

Oyetola said: “We have been able to ramp up revenue to the government in the last year and we are poised to do more.

“A comparison of Quarter 1 of 2023 against Quarter 1 of 2024 revenue performance across the agencies reveals a 92 per cent increase.

“In 2023, the NPA generated N82,987,439,908 while it generated N170,493,192,630 in the Q1 of 2024.

“NIMASA in 2023 generated N37,405,830,219 while in the Q1 2024, the revenue generated was N62,154,237,671

“The Nigerian Shipper Council (NSC) which generated N4,878,647,275 in the Q1 of 2023 experienced N8,675,726,282 revenue generation in the Q1 of 2024.

“The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), recorded N1,087,157,340 in the Q1 of 2023 while in the Q1 2024, the revenue generated was N1,488,588,802

“Overall, compared to last year where in Q1, the entire sector generated N126,359,074,742 in Q1 of 2024, the revenue generated was N242,811,745,385.

“So, the sector witnessed N116,452,670,643 revenue growth compared to the Q1 of the previous year which is a 92 per cent increase in revenue generated.”

He attributed the growth in revenue generation to an increase in vessel calling at the ports and other things.

Oyetola said: “The increase in revenue performance has largely been due to a 10 per cent increase in the number of vessels using our ports due to strategic investments in port infrastructure in the last one-year, mooring boats, patrol vessels and dredging of the port’s channels. We have also tightened revenue assurance by deploying technology.

“Revenue generation is critical to us and that is why we commissioned revenue enhancement studies focused on the ministry, its departments, and agencies.

“The objective is to further identify and block leakages while identifying recommendations to expand current revenue sources.

“Automation of revenue collection processes to eliminate bottlenecks and enhance transparency and accountability is also our goal.

“We are also deploying revenue assurance technologies to ensure accurate and complete billings in line with established contracts and services rendered.

“We would ensure the efficient utilisation of existing assets through concessions to the private sector and public-private partnerships as required.”

Oyetola explained that funds have been sourced for the comprehensive modernisation and reconstruction of Tin Can Island and Apapa Port Complex.

He said discussions were ongoing to seek funds for the rehabilitation of Onne, Rivers, Delta and Calabar port complexes.

The minister said the port modernisation would generate at least, 20,000 jobs, decongest the ports, and improve ease of doing business.

Oyetola said the government was considering the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for a national shipping line to protect the nation’s economic interest.

To protect the inland waterways, the minister also said the ministry would procure three water ambulances for areas where accidents were prevalent.

He said a national policy on blue economy will be unveiled by year’s end.

Oyetola said the reforms initiated by the ministry and the deployment of modern technology led to an increase in revenue.

The minister also explained that the proposed shipping line would boost the economy and give opportunity to ship owners and others in the sector to thrive.

Oyetola added: “Efforts are in top gear to create a national carrier based on a PPP arrangement that will entail very limited equity participation by the government.

“This will reduce capital flight, create shipping jobs, and enable Nigerian ship owners to benefit more from the global maritime shipping trade through Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) of cargo onboard.

“The point of a shipping line is not to bring back the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL). The issue is that we should have a shipping line.

“We realised that we are losing so much in the area of freight because we don’t have a shipping line that would compete with most of the other shipping lines in other parts of the world.

“So, the intention is to have PPP, the government may decide to have token equity or it could be a purely private partnership.

“We are not looking at bringing back the moribund or liquidated NNSL. I don’t believe the government should be in business.

“The government will create an enabling environment for business to thrive. The failure of the first line was because NNSL was purely run by the government and it died a natural death.

“We should allow the private sector people that are trained for business to drive business.

“So, we are looking at a partnership perhaps between government and private or private-private but we need to have a line that will fly our own flag and enjoy the opportunity of not only participating in freight but also participating in bringing import to our country.

“If we have our own line, we are entitled to about 40 per cent of import coming to our country. So, that is the kind of thing we are looking at and not NNSL that is liquidated.”

For the safety of the inland waterways, he said: “Deployment of Water Ambulances – we have deployed three water ambulances for prompt search and rescue operations on the inland waterways. This will reduce fatalities whenever accidents occur on our inland waters.

“The issue of water ambulance is a pilot scheme is meant to take care of specific areas and we are going to buy more to cover the entire country but there are specific places where accidents are very prevalent, so we want to ensure that these three ambulances are deployed to take care of those areas where we have been having lots of accident.

“The intention is to ensure that we have enough to go around the entire country to cover our inland waterways.”

The minister also said in line with its key performance indicator, the ministry had initiated consultations with relevant bodies to reduce, by the end of the year, the number of agencies at the seaports to a maximum of even to fast-track port processes.

The minister said the extension of the continental shelf will add more to Nigeria’s marine resources, saying: “We have an exclusive economic zone of over 200 nautical miles, and 10, 000 kilometres of inland waterways capable of supporting a vibrant intra-regional trade.

“We are blessed with strategic navigational routes linking Africa with North and South America, Europe, and Asia, making the shipping industry potentially a major driver of our country’s economy.

“Let me hasten to add that the recent expansion of our continental maritime domain came at the right time. Here, we must commend Mr. President on the work of the Presidential Committee on Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project.”

“The expansion gave us an additional 16,300 square kilometers which is six times the size of Lagos State. This has no doubt added more to the marine resources base of Nigeria.”

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