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FG approves N2bn to develop maritime academy

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has approved N2bn for the development of facilities at Maritime Academy, Oron in Akwa Ibom State to upgrade its programme to a degree awarding institution.

President Gooodluck Jonathan disclosed this in Lagos, saying the fund had been built into this year's budget.

A statement on Friday quoted the President as saying the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency had earlier offered the institute N1bn intervention fund to transform it into a world-standard institution.

President Jonathan spoke through the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, at the 2013 Nigerian Maritime Expo.

He said the academy was already collaborating with the World Maritime University in Sweden to streamline its curriculum and assist in strengthen its manpower capacity.

Formerly called the Nautical College of Nigeria, the academy was established in 1979 to train shipboard officers, ratings and shore-based management personnel.

By the end of 2008, the academy had trained about 4,300 Nigerian Merchant Navy officers and more than 65,000 other workers in marine operations.

The President also announced government's plan to establish another maritime university at Okeronkoko, Delta State, in addition to the support given to the academy.

This, he said, underscored the commitment of his administration to the nation's maritime development.

He said the maritime industry contributed significantly to the global economy with over 90 per cent of the world trade carried by sea.

According to him, Nigeria had about 70 per cent of the ship traffic, cargo throughput and volume of trade in the West Africa and Central African sub-regions.

He said, 'Nigeria's volume of trade has steadily risen from 82 million tonnes of cargo in2008 to 93.7 million in 2009 and 100 million in 2012, with containers volume of 1.4 million TEUs in 2011.

'The maritime industry is therefore growing and will no doubt position Nigeria in no distant future as a maritime hub of Africa.'

The President expressed worry at the congestion at the ports despite reducing the agencies operating there from 14 to seven.

He said the Federal Government was taking fresh measures to fully address the problem.