By Lucy Ogalue
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment towards ensuring the ease of doing business and safety of the country’s waterways.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr Saliu Zakari, said this in Abuja when he received a delegation of Maersk led by Mr Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).
According to Zakari, President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is putting various measures in place to ensure the safety and ease of doing business in the country.
He said: ”Government is doing everything possible to bring all the agencies into one fold to ensure things are done with ease.
“It is still in the process but will soon be completed and I assure you that within a very short time it will be materialised.
“About two years now, the government approved an integrated system to ensure our waterways are well secured.
“The contract have been signed and the various equipments have been brought into the country which will ensure our waterways are well protected.
“Currently, a number of security personnel are being trained with this new equipment to be able to overlook what is happening in our water fronts.
“I believe in the next few months the training would be completed and this will ensure protection of all ships coming into the country.
On trade, the permanent secretary said the various stakeholders had been counseled and urged to ensure simple and transparent business requirements.
Zakari said this would ensure that everyone coming into the country to do business clearly understood what was required of them.
The Executive Secretary of NSC said the meeting was in furtherance of partnership in the country’s transportation industry.
Bello said Maersk was the largest shipping company in Nigeria and they control a substantial part of the country’s train.
“We have engaged them for a long time in the spirit of partnership for the interest of Nigeria.”
The Managing Director, Maersk, Mr Gildas Tohouo, said the company had been partnering with the NSC to promote foreign direct investment in the country.
“It is a partnership that speaks to openness to look at the ocean solutions and land side solutions.
”It has enabled trade and allowed Nigerian farmers producing Sesame in the North to bring their cargo to the coast and get them exported.
“We are looking at avenues to improve export of non-oil produce in the country.
”There are some challenges and opportunities and we will like to understand what the Ministry is doing to enable that and where we, as partners, can tag in to move the agenda forward.”
He urged the Ministry to look into the safety and security of the Nigerian waterways and various ways the company could collaborate with the government to further enable trade. (NAN)