The Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group, Adekunle Oyinloye, has rated the 2019 performance of Maritime low. According to Oyinloye, Maritime should be a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product but it is being held down by several challenges.
Oyinloye said Nigeria’s major economic activity should come from maritime but lack of quality infrastructure is preventing operators from optimising their activities and their return on investments.
“In fact, maritime is expected ordinarily to be a major contributor to our Gross Domestic Product. So whatever happens in that sector is key to any economy. Two, if you see the role maritime plays in countries like Singapore and a number of other such maritime nation, it’s very important. Now assessing the maritime or logistics sector in Nigeria, a whole lot of challenges are affecting its optimal performance.
“If you come from the area of seaports, the infrastructure there has minimised the ability of the operators to optimise their activities and their return on investments, and invariably also to contribute significantly to the GDP.
“If you look at the airport, because of our stagnant investment in that area too, it has also made the activities there sub-optimal. You now go to the road, the road infrastructure is probably even worse. The logistics sector has really suffered, and I don’t think our appraisal will actually give us a pass mark,” Oyinloye said in a Punch report.
While speaking on challenges, Oyinloye identified road as the major headache of operators in the maritime. He explained that operators encountered bad road and traffic congestion not only in Lagos but also in other states in Nigeria.
“If the roads are good, you know the sky is wide enough for all sort of birds to fly. So I won’t even see the tank farm on its’ own as constituting to the challenge of the logistics sector. For me, if the roads are good, the access roads to the port in particular, in and out, people can drive in and drive out like we used to have in those days, it would not have been a problem if the tank farms operate. They will operate at their own terms.”
He further stated that, “You want to have a number of cargoes out of the seaport and the gridlock that we are currently facing in Apapa is not making things easy. Now if you push and push cargoes to the other ports outside Lagos, the roads and the quality of the road to get to areas like Port Harcourt, to come back to the Mid-West and to where ever they are going, is still a challenge. That’s what I see. We still need to holistically focus on how to make things work.”
Oyinloye supports new budget cycle: According to him, the January to December cycle recently adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari will help businesses plan better rather than the previous cycle which leaves businesses in an uncertain position.
“The first thing any business enterprise wants to see is that they can plan, when you have a predictable cycle, you can plan better.
“December you know you are winding down the year, so your finances too you’re closing it and in January you are starting the year. So the return of the budget cycle to January – December is a welcome development, it allows people to plan, I think the novel thing that have come with the budget for this year is the Finance Bill.
“That will also give some parameters to plan properly. You know what the government will support and will not support in the course of the year and you can plan better. I think it is a welcome development.”