By Steve Agbota
Despite being the second largest revenue earner after oil, the Federal Government has again ignored the maritime sector in its 2022 budget.
With a total expenditure of N16.39 trillion proposed in the 2022 budget presented to National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last week, power, roads, rail, agriculture, health and educational sectors were prioritised while the nation’s maritime sector was not given a mention amid its huge loss of capacity to neighboring ports in Cotonou, Togo and Ghana.
Maritime stakeholders who have been advocating port reforms over the years said they were disappointed that the 2022 appropriation would have been the starting point of reforms that would enable the sector recover lost grounds. Speaking with Daily Sun, an economist and immediate past Director General Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Muda Yusuf, said stakeholders have consistently advocated critical policy reforms to improve maritime sector’s performance.
“We have been talking about reforms around the ports. We have been talking about investing in infrastructure around the port. I’m not sure that there was any mention of those critical reforms. Another important areas is our foreign exchange policy, which had continued to pose a problem to the maritime sector would continue to retard its progress. Because exchange rate will be depreciating that mean less and less people will be able to import. Secondly, if there are too many issues around what is excluded and not excluded, if there are too much uncertainties, then there would be a problem and activities in the sector will be affected,” he said.
“So in terms of direct appropriation, I have not seen much in this budget that directly addresses the issue of the maritime sector.”
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