The Lagos State Government has pledged its support to the Maritime sector to boost regional integration and national development in the country and to generate wealth and employment for the benefit of the citizenry.

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu said this at a symposium with the theme, “Maritime Industry as a Strategic Driver for Regional and National Economic Development,” organized by the Mission to Seafarers, Lagos State.

Sanwo-Olu who was 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. He added that the aquatic potentials available in Lagos exposed the State to intercontinental trade many years ago and this has contributed in making it the cosmopolitan city that attracts people and trade from across the world.

He said, “Towards realizing the vision of efficient regional integration and infrastructure growth, there is 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 countries that are landlocked. 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.”

Sanwo-olu noted that the Maritime Sector has always been a critical factor in the socio-economic, physical and Infrastructure growth of the global economy as the earliest commercial transactions were carried out through maritime trade.

“Our administration places 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,” Sanwo-Olu disclosed.

On behalf of Governor Sanwo-Olu, the Transport Commissioner commended the Mission to Seafarers for their efforts to boost the maritime sector, stating that it was significant that the aquatic potentials that opened up Lagos to intercontinental trade will continue to transform the State into a cosmopolitan city.

He 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 represented by 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 Rotimi stated that the symposium was timely as the pandemic had brought economic loss hence an opportunity that will lead to industrial evolution with strategic support to the industry to boost the manufacturing industry and make the Medium and Small Enterprise 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 Port.

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. She also added that the indigenous ships were needed as the lack of it had cost the local market 99.9% of freight.

She appealed for more youths to be groomed and exposed to the sector to fill up the shortage of seafarers and meet the rising demand of trade activities.

Likewise, the Chairman, Mission to Seafarers in Lagos State, Chief Adebayo Sarumi added 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.