By Stella Enenche, Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said that the establishment of maritime bank, would facilitate development of the West and Central African regions.
Amaechi made the assertion, Friday during a one-day conference of Ministers of Transportation organized by the Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA) in Lagos.
According to the minister, Nigeria will make its financial contributions,saying other countries in the affected regions must endeavour to do so.
The minister in a statement signed by his Media Assistant Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni said Nigeria already has a budgetary allocation for it this year stating that he can’t guarantee if there would be budgetary provision for it next year.
“The last meeting we had a lot of countries signed, that they are coming but they are not here today.
“The position of Nigeria will change a bit, 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 being pushing and nobody is responding the way we thought everybody should respond, we will make our contribution when others have make theirs”, Elebiyo-Edeni quoted Amaechi as saying.
He added thus: “I wish we could make our contribution this year because we have budgetary allocation for it but if is 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.”
However, Didier Mazenga Mukanzu, the 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 Honorable Minister of Transport of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has taken upon itself the commitment to speak with its counterparts from other Member States in order to convince them to support the project by approving in particular the Charter and 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 the 9 August 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 recommended 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 had 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 is expressed overwhelmingly align that we can take a big step forward.”
Mukanzu, recalled that approval of the Charter is not the ratification stating that the step is to allow provisional bodies, based on the agreement of the Ministers responsible for transport of maritime to discuss start-up procedures and their financing.
So far, five countries has signed the treaty while four countries has shown readiness to sign which brings it to nine members.
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