Make Nigeria ship owning nation, Ex-NPA MD urges ship owners
A former Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, has urged ship owners to work toward making Nigeria a ship owning nation.
Sarumi, made the appeal during the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) Annual Workshop and Dinner with the theme :“The Nigerian Maritime Industry: Galvanising stakeholders Engagement for Sustainable Growth” held in Lagos on Tuesday.
According to him, shipping business is capital intensive, considering the immense ship owners’ activities in the maritime industry.
“I have seen the challenge beyond offshore oil support services. Nigerian ship owners also have their roles to play in the carriage of cargo all over the whole place.
“One point that still remains is that ship owners need to fight for their rights beyond the issue of oil and gas as well as oil exploration support services.
“Whatever cargo coming into this country must be carried by Nigerians.
“Even if we have to start with non-vessel owning common carriers, we should insist on carrying most of our project cargo; we should not leave the business to the supplier to go and look for his countries’ shipping services to bring our cargo to us, ‘’ Sarumi said.
He advised the association’s executive members to think of the possibility of diversification, saying that there was no reason for Nigerians not to trade within the North and Central Africa Region.
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, delivered a lecture on: “Effective Policy Implementation; A Panacea for Sustainable Participation and Growth of Nigerian Maritime Sector.
Peterside said that the agency was determined to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
He noted that the disbursement of Cargo Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) would crash the interest rate to single digit interest rate.
According to him, the effective utilisation of the CVFF will also create more jobs in the country.
Peterside said CVFF would be disbursed before the first quarter of 2019, saying the agency would continue to publish the maritime forecasts to enable ship owners to understand the direction of the industry with the available statistics.
“NIMASA is working on manpower audit to train Nigerians to attain the level of manpower required in the country and also looking at shipyards by supporting them to equip their vessels to provide jobs for Nigerian youths.
“Singapore had established a policy framework on International Maritime Centre 2030 which it intends to be the centre for connectivity and also the hub of innovation and latent in the world.
“Also United Kingdom is number one in ship financing and maritime insurance while China wants to dominate trade in the maritime and has done that through a maritime policy called 21st Century Slik Road.
“There was the National Shipping Policy between 1987 and 2003 on cargo sharing rate of 40-40-20 which gave right for NIMASA.
“There is also the Cabotage 2003 policy which enables indigenous operators to dominate coastal trade by building and manning of ships, port reform policy and others,’’ Peterside said.
He noted that poor implementation of policies and lack of enforcement would lead to failure of numerous policies in Nigeria.
Also speaking, on the topic, the Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, said NPA ensured the installation of Vessel Tracking Information System in conformity with International and Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS).
Bala-Usman, represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Services of the authority, Dr Sekonte Davis, said that NPA was at the verge of deploying simulation facilities for continuous development of maritime professionals and seafarers.
She said that NPA encouraged and supported the development of deep seaports in Lekki and Akwa Ibom to sustain the growth of maritime industry in Nigeria.
She said that this was with a view to receiving vessel with deeper drafts that would be constructed to response to economy of scale.
Bala-Usman said that NPA had developed a Revenue Invoice Management System (RIMS) and Electronics Ship Entry Notice to enhance port system, saying that the management would soon complete the review of concessioning agreement.
In his address, the SOAN President, Mr Greg Ogbeifun, said since the inauguration of the association in 2014, it had become an enabler of maritime discourse within and outside Nigeria.
Ogbiefun said that the association had been invited by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) to lead a private sector delegation to the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta.
He said SOAN president was appointed a member of the Advisory Board of CWEIC, saying the association had been able to increase government’s interest and participation in global maritime opportunities such as Nigerian Maritime Autumn Event.
According to him, SOAN has several engagements with relevant maritime managing directors as well as stakeholders with a view to facilitate the streamlining of government policies direction to actualise maritime potential.
“We are optimistic that these engagements will yield the desired results in the nearest future in order to ease the burden currently faced by ship owners in running our businesses.
“There is need to facilitate the emergence of a competitive Nigerian maritime industry to compete with other nations and contribute to the growth of the national Gross Domestic Product,’’ Ogbeifun said.
The SOAN president said that stakeholders’ support to the association would enable government to achieve its aims of revenue generation and making Nigeria the hub in the West and Central Africa Region.
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