Govt projects 10% growth, more shipping activities for maritime industry

Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Commodore Emmanuel Duja Effedua (left), Capt. Martins Fakrongha from the Headquarters, Western Naval Command, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, Chairman, Ship-owners Forum, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, and NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, during the public presentation of Nigeria’s Maritime Industry Forecast for 2019-2020 held in Lagos on Tuesday

By Chidubem Anthony

The Federal Government has projected a 10 per cent growth in the Nigerian maritime industry for 2019/2020 following a data-based analysis of global and local trends, as well as more flourishing shipping activities.

The forecast tagged, “Harnessing the Maritime and Shipping Sector for Sustainable Growth,” meant to guide investors and stakeholders in their planning and investment decisions as part of efforts to attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the economy was unveiled Tuesday in Lagos by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).    

This year’s projected performance almost doubled the previous and maiden edition, which the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, noted as falling little short of expectations even as computation was still ongoing. The major fronts include the economic environment, the maritime industry (local and global), regulatory framework, and emerging opportunities and challenges.

Peterside said that this year’s forecast addressed how emerging trends in the global maritime industry, as well as domestic factors, would affect the Nigerian maritime sector, which holds a lot of promise.

According to him, “the maritime sector has the potential of contributing at least 10 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP in no distant future, as Nigeria has the biggest market in Africa and generates about 65-67 per cent of cargo throughput in West Africa; and 65 per cent of all cargo heading for these regions will most likely end up in the Nigerian market.”

The outlook for the economy in 2019 reflects, on the global side, concerns about a substantial global economic growth slowdown, likely higher interest rates, a stronger dollar and volatile oil prices, possibly averaging below $60pb, and domestically, the impact of sentiments surrounding the 2019 general elections and post-electoral transition, the forecast indicated.

Its empirical analysis projects the growth of the total fleet size in 2019 over 2018 at 10.33 per cent, easing to 8.75 per cent for 2020, while oil tanker fleet size is projected to decrease by 11.2 per cent for 2019 and recover to a positive growth of 0.11 per cent by 2020.

Non-oil tanker fleet size is estimated to increase by 14.3 per cent in 2019 and 10.2 per cent in 2020, while oil rig count is projected to increase by 6.98 per cent and 6.5 per cent for 2019 and 2020, respectively. According to Peterside, asset building/acquisition and human capacity development are the two factors that would enable Nigerians play a major role in the maritime and shipping sector.

However, he noted that since shipping is capital intensive and the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) would not be adequate to address the huge demand for maritime asset, the agency sought other ship financing models.

To that end, “we have been engaging government at the highest level to push for special intervention fund, special interest rate and other incentives that will drive optimal performance in the sector. We shall not relent in our drive to put the right framework together to help beneficiaries and investors have good return on investment.

“The country is also making huge investments in human capacity development in the sector, which means that more Nigerians will get involved in shipping, especially in shipping operations.”

Peterside further stated that government been consistent with efforts to drive changes in the maritime and shipping sector through regulatory and infrastructural developments.

Earlier, a consultant from the Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami, who reviewed the forecast, said it was intended to provide the context in which the sector would operate in 2019 to 2020. These include the expected passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), the anti-piracy bill, and domestication of more International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions.

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