May 21, 2015, 10:23 AM
Major Academy Limited Nigeria Thursday commenced a weeklong capacity building course in The Gambia for Maritime Services conducted for top management staff of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Abuja, Nigeria.
The training course, underway at the Baobab Holiday Resort, brought together high-profile managers from the Federal Ministry of Transport representing an arm of the Nigerian government, which supervises all the maritime agencies in Nigeria.
In his statement during the opening, the coordinator of Major Academy Limited, Nigeria, Dr Bachir Isyaku, welcomed the participants to the event held in The Gambia.
The event brought top management staff of the Maritime Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Transport of Nigeria for a capacity building course anchored by Gambia Sailors of international reputation.
“This course was initially planned to be held in far away Malaysia, but due to our desire to promote regional cooperation among ECOWAS states, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Abuja, approved that it should be shifted here on the Smiling Coasts of The Gambia,” he said.
He said their choice of The Gambia as venue for the programme was further informed by the need to promote closer ties of mutually beneficial economic relations between the two great countries, especially in agriculture and tourism.
According to Dr Isyaku, there are many areas where Nigeria and The Gambia could cooperate to foster relation as demonstrated by the recent visit of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to The Gambia. Nigeria has a lot to benefit from The Gambia agriculture notably fisheries, he noted.
Dr Isyaku further stated that in a recent report by the Daily Trust newspaper of Nigeria, the minister of agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adensina, was quoted lamenting that Nigeria imports fish worth over US$611 million annually, most of which is from China.
He then used the opportunity to challenge the ministry of trade and investments and the business community in The Gambia to consider capturing this huge market.
He also asserted that that on the other hand, The World Travel and Tourism Council has been issuing conflicting statistics and unfavorable forecasts about the tourism industry in The Gambia.
At one time they said it would decline by 17 per cent in the year 2013 due to world economic disorders, he recalled, adding that presently The Gambia relies on tourists largely from Europe and some African countries.
According to Dr Isyaku, Major Academy could assist to diversify and expand the tourism market to catch in friendly countries like Nigeria and the Arab World.
Going back to our maritime capacity building course, he expressed delight to inform the participants that the chief facilitator of the programme, captain Abou Jalo, a distinguished Gambian citizen, has rendered immense services to the Nigerian maritime industry for a very long time.
He said Captain Jalo has been to Nigeria several times inspecting ships and ports facilities for various certifications.
He interacted with so many prominent Nigeria sailors like captain Olabode of IMO and maritime administrators like Babangida Aliyu when the latter was the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport.
In her official opening, the deputy mayoress of Banjul City Council, Aja Amie Sillah, described the training as very timely and relevant, as it demonstrates awareness of the importance of maritime transport to the economic development of the African continent, and compliments the effort of African heads of states in their strives to develop and improve maritime trade and commerce.