Barge operations imperative for economic growth – Hajia Bola Muse

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*Says barge operations create jobs for seafarers, Stevedorers, maritime labour

(Report by Udeme Clement):

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bomarah Investment limited, Hajia Bola Muse, has said that barge operations play critical role in economic growth and development.

She made this assertion in a chat with our Correspondent, stressing that the enormous contributions of barge operations to the maritime sector cannot be overemphasised.

Hajia Muse, pointed out;
“Barge operations extend to economic sustainability and development, with particular references to creating employment opportunities for seafarers, Stevedorers and maritime labour, amongst others. The positive effect of barge operations include creation of jobs in the port terminals where cargos are either loaded or discharged. These have cascaded to all facets of the maritime sector.

On the issue of multiple licensing raised by President, Barge Operators Association of Nigeria, (BOAN); she said: “I quite agreed with BOAN President. Although barge operations traditionally cut across the key regulators in the maritime industry, it is pertinent to have a single licensing paradigm, which will make regulation less cumbersome, to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in operations”.

Responding to question on Tariffs Harmonisation for barge operators, she explained; “It is of paramount importance. I consider it improper for port terminals rendering the same services to have divergent tariffs. Although tariff differences may be a function of port terminals operational cost and other factors, I believe efficiency will help in ensuring tariffs harmonisation is a reality.”

On challenges facing barge operators in Nigeria, she informed; “There are quite numerous. Those of utmost concern include safety, security, lack of adequate funding, poor government support, influx of illegal Operators, interalia. However, with a good synergy among all critical stakeholders and focus on addressing the issues, these problems can be adequately curtailed”.

She went on; “The law adequately protects local content in barge operations. I am referring to the Cabotage Act of 2003 and other legislations with primary focus on local capacity building.

“The NIMASA enabling Act as well. Due to huge capital outlay involved in barge operations, it is easy for multinationals to come in, as local operators won’t be able to survive. As the saying goes, ‘when the desirable becomes unavailable, the available becomes the desirable.’

“There are several issues, some of which have been answered above. However, I want the public to know that barge operations have critical role to play in taking our economy to greater height, if properly harnessed. The positive impacts of barge operations on local and international trades cannot be overemphasised.”

Hajia, who is a reputable stakeholder in the maritime sector and one of the top officials of ANLCA, emphasised; “The growth of blue economy in Nigeria also hinges on barge operations. The growth of the industry will lead to development of every facet of the nation’s economy.”

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