The Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) has called for collaboration from the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) to drive investment in the country’s economy through the maritime sector.

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NSC’s Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Bello, transport drives the economy and modern/efficient infrastructure in the transport sector would result in corresponding growth, inclusiveness, and development in the economy.

“So, transport drives the economy in terms of many things, employment, content of our infrastructure, the integration of this infrastructure, connectivity and international trade”, he said.

“In this modern era, diversification of source of revenue has been forced on us and there is no better place to express this diversification than in the transport sector.

“For long we have been an import-dependent economy, we import almost everything and that is not healthy. So we need investment in infrastructure, we need to look at how do we coordinate, how do we attract investors to us.

“We have to leverage on the private sector because the government has complete faith in it, we are mindful of the ease of doing business and the cost of doing business.

“So at present, we have the Ibadan inland dry port for example which is 80,000TEU port, meant to decongest the Lagos seaport and bring the shipping economy to the doorsteps of shippers.

“As a nation, we need to export and so the dry port will serve that. It is a 100million dollar medium contribution investment, the CIRC of China is already the preferred bidder.

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“We have gone one or two round of negotiations and we invite NIPC, to join our team of negotiators so that things will be made easy, the contract is very important, hence it will create employment, many people will be employed and also some consequential industry or business activities will, of course, be there.

“So, we know that it requires a lot of approvals, permits, waivers, incentives, pioneering status and other things which your organisation will certainly grant or make possible for it to be. We have come here to ask for your cooperation, not only for this dry port but for other dry ports so that we establish a kind of rapport or we cement it.”

“The ES, therefore, enjoined the NIPC to support shippers’ council’s effort in achieving its mandate and growing the Nigerian economy.

In her remarks, the NIPC boss pledged the Councils’ support in the realisation of the projects by the shippers’ council based on the provisions in NIPC’s mandate.

According to her, “more importantly, between NIPC and Shippers Council, we are two agencies that need to work together to drive improved investment in the maritime sector, just like NIPC needs to work together with other agencies to achieve investment in Nigeria.

“So, the number of things that you mentioned that you wanted approval for, you referred to waivers for custom duties, approvals relating to immigration and expatriate quota, Federal Government support and the like.

“The approvals and waivers that come from third party agencies, we can provide guidance on how to peach the request so that it is favourably considered by the relevant authorities,” Sadiku said.

By Ignatius Ushie