An oil cargo vessel
Far reaching advantages abound with a national fleet in the maritime sector, including Nigerians’ ability to lift the nation’s export crude immediately it comes into operation, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said.
Speaking at a media breakfast meeting during the ongoing Nor Shipping Conference and Exhibition in Oslo, Norway, Peterside explained that such development would end the capital flight associated with the present arrangement where Nigeria sells its oil Free on Board (FoB) to customers, and also lead to job creation.
According to him, the new national fleet will be owned 51-49 per cent by Nigerian investors and technical partner(s) respectively, with the local investors’ majority equity ensuring absence of a domineering shareholder, while the private sector-led enterprise will ensure sustainability and profitability.
Peterside, whose agency is in charge of administering the nation’s cabotage fund, described the national fleet as part of the country’s new strategic direction on the blue economy, which is designed to tap its maritime potentials.
Inviting interested local and foreign investors to partner the country in the project, said the opportunity in crude freight and right of first refusal to lift cargo generated by all tiers of government are just some of the many potentials in the sector.
He further noted that the country was also taking its maritime security serious and has invested in security assets, including patrol boats, special mission aircrafts, helicopters, unmanned air vessels and special mission ships, acquired under the Deep Blue Project, to boost the policing of its waters.
According to him, the Deep Blue Project – or homeland security solution, will be operational by September this year with a standing, specially trained intervention strike force.
Added to these rich investment potentials in the Nigerian maritime sector is the Federal Government’s tax holiday and institutional support incentives, he noted, reminding the audience that Nigeria remained an investment-friendly environment with comprehensive maritime security, robust financial sector, six-port complexes and numerous terminals, among others.
The country accounts for 70 per cent of seaborne trade into West and Central Africa and is endowed with a skilled workforce and the world’s ninth largest hydrocarbon deposits. The country is also focusing on implementing reforms to enhance her ease of doing business.