Nigeria can refloat shipping line in two months if… – Sambo

  • Managing Director, Sea Transport Group, Umar Aminu (left), who represented the Chairman, Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC); Mrs. Funmi Folorunsho and other members during their presentation of an interim report to the Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Sambo (right) in Abuja…Wednesday

By Anthony Nwachukwu

The Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has requested full collaboration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the effort to re-establish a national shipping line, stating that the agency’s 100 per cent support will guarantee its prompt realisation.

Sambo, who spoke in Abuja Wednesday after receiving an interim report from the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee on the need to establish a strong and sustainable national fleet, insisted that “if NNPC can give 100 per cent support, this matter can be closed in two months.”

He stressed that as a maritime country, Nigeria “will have no business looking for money from the oil sector as contribution to the GDP” if it gets its acts together. However, he urged the committee to consult to with the NNPC, alongside other stakeholders, towards realising the project.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Emmanuel Jime, listed the challenges to realising the project to include the need to harmonise the operating environments, as shipping is an international business.

According to Jime, who is the Chairman, Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC) but represented by Managing Director, Sea Transport Group and member of NFIC, Umar Aminu, “there were challenges that impeded the quick realisation of the project as earlier envisaged.

“Shipping is international and competitive in nature and Nigeria cannot operate in isolation, hence the need for the operating environment to be similar to what obtains elsewhere,” a statement on the event quoted Jime to say.

“This has been a major challenge to the growth of the sector in Nigeria. Review of certain trade policies, access to funds and technical/human capacity are issues that need to be resolved.”

He said that the committee was constituted by the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to implement the recommendations of an earlier Ministerial Committee on Modalities for the Establishment of a Nigerian Fleet.

Jime further explained that the initiative was a way of responding to citizens’ non-participation in the carriage of the nation’s international cargo, as well as the loss of freight revenue, jobs and other benefits that would have accrued to the country.

“In the course of carrying out the mandate, lessons have been learnt and some modest achievements have recorded. These have been captured in this interim report which we are submitting today.

“The work is still ongoing and the goal of creating an enabling environment for the growth of sustainable Nigerian fleet will be achieved in due course.”

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