President Tinubu Deserves Applause For His Bold Initiatives – Ukeyima

Mr Akutah Pius Ukeyima was recently appointed President Bola Tinubu as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC). In this interview with Presidential Diary, Ukeyima, an expert in International Criminal law and justice, legal writing, and consultation speaks on efforts being made by the Government of President Bola Tinubu to reposition the Shippers Council for Economic growth, stressing that Nigerians are soon to begin reaping from the President’s well-intended bold initiatives.

Five months on the saddle as the Chief Executive of the Shippers Council may be a short time. Regardless, how has the experience been so far?

It been great. Like you know, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is the Port Economic Regulator and a trade facilitation agency, with the responsibility to promote fair trade practices in the industry amongst the providers and consumers of shipping and port services. Its mandate is to establish an enabling environment for all stakeholders by instituting an efficient and effective economic regulatory system in the transport sector. The Council addresses the negative impact of port concession activities on the economy due to the absence of an economic regulator and to realize the optimal benefits of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s port reform processes. Being the Port Economic Regulator and a trade facilitation agency, we have the responsibility to promote fair trade practices in the industry amongst the providers and consumers of shipping and port services. The council, therefore, remains resolutely determined to be the foremost economic regulatory agency in the country. The important role of transport and logistics in international trade cannot be over-emphasised. That is why the Council as the port economic regulator is mandated to ensure that the quality, quantity and cost of services in the entire transportation and logistics chain is moderated and standardised in line with global best practice. Also, transport is a critical determinant in the conduct of international trade and impacts national economies. The availability, quality, cost, and efficiency of transport services influence the trading environment and the competitiveness of export goods on the international market as well as the cost of imported goods. In this regard, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council serves as an agent for economic development through interventions in cost moderation and cargo transport issues resulting in a positive impact on inflationary trends in the country. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has given us a mandate and his eyes are firmly on the growth of the sector. We will roll out measures that will support the continued growth. The Council will firmly collaborate with all operators to maximize success and entrench more automation of the sector too. The experience has been very good and i intend to take the council to a higher height.What new innovation and strategy will you be bringing to improve your activities?The NSC will soon kick off the implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) before the expiration of the third quarter, 2024 at the nation’s ports.The Council is actively working to achieve this goal before the end of the third quarter of next year. The Cargo Tracking Note is an automated scheme, which can determine the type and volume of cargo that are imported into the country through seaports within a specific period. The CTN will also boost Nigeria’s security and enhance the Federal Government’s revenue from the seaports.You are functioning under the new Blue Economy Ministry.

What impact will the new Ministry have on the Nigeria economy?

We are under the ministry for the blue economy which is a novel innovation President Tinubu has brought in to reposition Nigeria for economic growth. Nigeria is on the verge of unlocking its potential with the ministry. An abundant opportunities is in the offing. The blue economy, which encompasses the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, has the potential to revolutionize Nigeria’s maritime industry and provide a significant boost to the country’s economy.Nigeria is endowed with vast coastal resources that remain largely untapped. The country’s maritime industry has historically focused on the oil and gas sector, but with the establishment of a dedicated ministry for the blue economy, diversification is underway. This move signifies Nigeria’s commitment to exploiting its maritime resources in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

How will riverine communities in the country, particularly the North Central states benefit from the renewed zeal of the council?

On my visit to Benue, i met with some shippers who were doing businesses in River Benue and the environs and spoke on a number of issues and how we can revive their activities. One of the key opportunities that the blue economy presents for Nigeria is the potential for increased employment and economic growth. The establishment of the new ministry and with Shippers will lead to the creation of new jobs in various sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture, renewable energy, tourism, and maritime transportation. By tapping into these sectors, Nigeria can address the issue of unemployment, particularly among its coastal communities, and contribute to poverty reduction.Some North Central states like Benue, Kogi, Taraba and Nasarawa are surrounded with large water bodies for shipping activities.We will look in to the states to see where we can revamp our activities. We already have an area office in Makurdi.

Do you think all these bold step by the president can lead to economic growth for the country, considering the difficulties people are facing?

One thing I can assure you is that the president means well for the country and he is putting and creating new vistas for economic growth. I think President Tinubu should be applauded for taking the bold step to undertake reforms in all sectors in the country. The benefits of reforms is not immediate but giving a few time the results will start coming in.I am very positive that Tinubu will take Nigeria to the promise land with his programmes and action. If I am to score the president I will give him 90%.With a little patient we will begin to reap from the reforms of the president.

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