The President of the World Maritime University Alumni Association Liberia Chapter, Mohamed Lavalie, has underscored the need for Liberia to fully explore its maritime potentials by allowing individuals with expertise in maritime to run the sector.
Lavailie made the call in his acceptance speech after he was elected as the first President of World Maritime University Alumni Association Liberia Chapter on Feb. 17.
While appreciating President George Manneh Weah for appointing youthful maritime professionals and technocrats at the Fisheries authority, he lamented that a “a scaring and haunted past awaits Liberia’s maritime cluster at the National Port Authority, Gateway to the nation’s Economy, where the first two appointments made by President Weah so far are non-maritime technocrats at the posts of Deputies Managing Director for Administration and Operations.”
Lavelie said, “Today, nowhere in the world will you see a major port facilitate being run by non-maritime technocrats. For example, Philippines in order to maximise her maritime potential recruited a world-renowned maritime expert Dr. Max Majia to steer the affairs of the Philippine Maritime Program. Our national ports have a great deal of potential in generating much needed revenue to support our pro-poor-agenda.”
In is view, the gateway to the country’s economy which has very high potentials for economic growth, national income and employment has been underutilized because it has over the time not been managed individuals who under the intricacies of maritime affairs.
He cited the 25-year concession contract with APM Terminals, which, according to him, could have been better implemented and fully monitored if maritime experts were in charge of the port authority.
No maritime country has succeeded in sustaining its lead in the industry without adequately utilising its trained and professional manpower.
As a nation, we are missing out on the opportunities prepared for us by friendly nations and companies by offering to train our citizens in maritime knowledge as a gift to enable us to grow this lucrative industry for the benefit of our people.
“Instead of tapping on the experiences of these trained technocrats we rather settled down for political patronage at the expense of our country’s growth of boasting our maritime programs,” Lavalie said.
He noted that Liberia’s surest way of getting on par with other leading nations in the maritime industry is by restlessly taking advantage of the country’s current pool of maritime professionals from the World Maritime University, International Maritime Law Institute and the Regional Maritime University as the sector is meaningful and quality demand driven.
Ghana, he said, has a deep waters port investment of USD 1.5 million while Liberia has just USD 120 million.
“Ghana was able to attract such a huge investment because as a country the person of the Republic of Ghana taps from the pool of maritime professionals as heads and main stream of all their maritime programs.
“With much emphasis on the importance of strengthening our maritime cluster, other countries of the world are breeding their youthful population with cutting edge maritime related technologies, diversifying their future generation in various maritime portfolios and landlocked nations without coastline endowment are today positioning themselves in this promising maritime enterprise,” he disclosed.
Lavalie, however, lamented that of the 4,654 graduates from the World Maritime University and regional maritime institutions around the world, Liberia accounts for only 1%.
“This signifies Liberia’s underutilisation of training opportunities for our youthful population and sadly the Liberian Government scores low rate on the employment or retention of Liberians graduate from WMU,” he said.
Source: Front Page Africa, Report by Lennart Dodoo
Sea News, February 26