THE Chief Financial Officer of Lagos Free Zone, a Tolaram Venture, Ashish Khemka, has called on businesses, corporate organisations, and captains of industries to consider the construction of the port as a pathway towards industrialisation.
Khemka made this known during a panel session held at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Seaport Investment Forum held in Lagos, recently.
At the event, themed, ‘Repositioning Nigeria’s Seaport for Investment and Trade Attractiveness,’ he explained that the potential of the maritime sector in Nigeria remains largely untapped.
Khemka noted that there was a need for stakeholders, including the government, to provide necessary infrastructure and reduce bottlenecks that could affect the efficiency of the port.
According to him, the commencement of business operations at Lekki Deep Sea Port by December 2022 would serve as a gateway for economic prosperity for Nigeria and other neighbouring countries in West Africa.
“The port and industrialisation go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. If you have a port but don’t have any industry where you can process the raw materials, there will be no use for the port, and vice versa,” he said.
In his keynote address, Assistant General, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr Ayo Durowaiye, who represented the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, emphasised the need for stakeholders to harvest ideas from the forum to improve the ports and tackle the challenges.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Welcome2Africa, Bamidele Seun Owoola, explained that the forum was intended for relevant stakeholders to rub minds in order to proffer solutions to the myriad of issues plaguing the sector. He added that it would also help to facilitate good business relationships.
In his remark, the Associate Director of Zenith Carex International,Omolayo Rhoda, who represented the Managing Director of Zenith Carex International, Dr Adelana Olamilekan, stated that there was the need for government to liberalise the sector by empowering more Nigerians to own vessels so as to reduce overreliance on international organisations.
The forum, which included maritime stakeholders from the private and public sectors, was organised to discuss challenges affecting the industry with a view to finding lasting solutions that would help improve trade and attract investments in the sector.