By Lucy Ogalue
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has met the Minister’s of Transportation of West and Central African countries to deliberate on the development of the Maritime bank
This was contained in a statement by the minister’s Media Assistant, Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, on Saturday in Abuja.
The Ministers was speaking at the One-Day conference of Ministers of Transportation by the Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA) held in Lagos.
Amaechi said that the establishment of a maritime bank was necessary for maritime development in the region.
According to him, Nigeria will make it financial contributions when other countries also make their contributions.
He said the Nigerian government already had a budgetary allocation for the bank this year, stating that he could not guarantee budgetary provision for it in 2021.
“The position of Nigeria will change abit. The position of Nigeria now will be, we are ready to contribute our money when others are ready, we will just seat back and watch, when others bring their money, we will bring ours.
“We couldn’t have been pushing and nobody is responding the way we thought everybody should respond, we will make our contribution when others have made theirs.
“I wish we could make our contribution this year because we have budgetary allocation for it but if its next year, I can’t guarantee that we will have the budgetary provision, we will try in case you are ready next year.
“We believe that this bank is a necessary tool that we need for maritime development in our region both West and Central Africa.”
Meanwhile, Mr Didier Mukanzu, Minister of Transport and Communication from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairman of MOWCA expressed his gratitude to the 25-member states and the Government of Nigeria.
“Indeed, the Committee of Experts of MOWCA met in Lagos from September15-16, 2020 on the project to set up the regional maritime bank of development.
“The Minister of Transport of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has taken upon himself the commitment to speak with his counterparts from other Member States to convince them to support the project.
”The aim is to particularly approve the Charter and they expect the States to express their commitment to the project.
“I would like to remind you that this maritime bank project was adopted for the very first time by the 6 session of the Bureau of Ministers held in Abidjan on Aug. 9, 1999.
”So more than 20 years ago. Many initiatives have been taken. But this time, the partners are there and ready to invest in the project.
“I therefore recommend that these partners not being won over by doubt on the real desire of the sub-region to equip itself with an institution. Great achievements in the world have always has reservations at the beginning.
“However, when people actually want to achieve a goal, they must commit accordingly. Ministers, we are at a decisive turning point in this project.
”I hope that the will of the sub-region expressed overwhelmingly align so that we can take a big step forward,” he said.
Mukanzu said that the approval of the Charter was not the ratification.
He said that the step would allow provisional bodies, based on the agreement of the Ministers responsible for transport of maritime to discuss start-up procedures and their financing.