Lagos — Mrs Hadiza Bala Usman, on assumption of office as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), undertook a tour of NPA's facilities in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
Before the tour, little did she know the extent of rot, waste and mismanagement of resources that awaited her on arrival at the facilities.
She could not express the extent of decay she met on ground during the visit.
Seeing her countenance, the top staff members of the Authority had wished she was not taken to some areas.
One of such areas they had wished they never took her to is the Continental Shipyard Limited (CSL).
The shipyard is a joint venture between the Nigerian Port Authority and a Swiss company. The decay at the yard, according to a staff, was as a result of years of abandonment. A staff said that the shipyard had once served as a training centre for the numerous marine engineers trained by the NPA. Most of the marine engineers are the ones calling the shots in the martime sector.
Before the shipyard was eventually abandoned, it had become idle as a result of mismanagement and negligence.
But now, there is excitement over a recent agreement between the NPA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the siting of a N50 billion floating dock at the Continental Shipyard Apapa, Lagos.
The agreement, which is a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, is expected to generate about 500 jobs in the first year.
Aside, the dock would generate about N12bn to the coffers of the federal government in the first year. The figure is expected to grow over time.
Barring any last minute change in plans, the floating shipyard is expected to dock at the Continental Shipyard, in Apapa soon.
HadizaBala Usmans believe that in order to enable Nigeria benefits fully from international shipping and to take advantage of the opportunities it provides, the country must operate a functional shipyard or floating dock among other things to reduce capital flight.
She stated that this would ensure smooth transmission of goods and investments through the ports and to boost the nation's trade.
Unveiling the arrangement, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, penultimate Thursday said the agency's floating dock would generate N12bn annually for the country.
Jamoh made this known while presenting his achievements in his first 100 days in office.
According to him, the agency was expecting a huge influx of employment opportunities from the utilisation of the floating dock.
"Presently, the floating dock is at the Naval Dockyard and we are making everything possible to get it to the Continental Shipyard when the Nigerian Ports Authority would have wound down its operation at the yard.
"Apart from the N12bn annual revenue the floating dock will generate, we are expecting up to 350 staff engagement, and these are the main workers.
"We have five segments comprising cadets in electrical and mechanical, and each segment will provide employment for 75 persons.
"Additionally, the floating dock will be used for the sea time. For those who have the expertise in electrical and mechanical, they will be placed there to have their own time," he said.
Jamoh noted that the agency would be signing a Memoradum of Understanding with all operators of oil and gas to take their ship to the floating dock, and would also be engaging with the managing partner to help manage the dock.
He pointed out that they were filing with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to confirm and approve the PPP arrangement they want to embark upon.
"This is something that is like a cash cow and we are looking forward to full operations soon," Jamoh said.