· Launches “Effective Transport Systems” Nov. 3rd
· NPA’s N400million trapped in ASO Savings & Loan
Many Nigerians have been living with the illusion that the maritime industry, as the second largest revenue earner for the country after the oil sector will fill the revenue gaps, created by the dwindling fortunes in the oil and gas industry which has been partly responsible for the present economic recession.
The former chief executive officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Dr. Kingsley Usoh, who attributed the strong held belief to ignorance, asserted that it is misplaced because transport services are derived demand.
In an exclusive interview with MMS Plus, Usoh said, “I don’t see transport or maritime filling the revenue gaps left by the oil revenue fail. The people saying this did not break their argument down. Transportation, whether maritime, air, road or rail is a derived demand. A derived demand means that the thing that needs transport must be there for a demand for transport to occur. So, if that thing is not working, there would be no need for transport services. Transportation cannot exist in isolation.
“How many ships come to Nigeria now? It is because there is nothing to carry, there is nobody demanding for space in a ship. But if there is something to carry you will see them flooding here, and even the road transport operators will have something to carry. So, anybody making the argument must know that demand must be created to enable the transport sector pick up the demand signal,” Usoh noted.
MMS Plus made a pre-launch review of his latest book, due for launch on November 3rd, 2016 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, and confronted him with his seeming caution for the re-floating of national carriers in the maritime and aviation industries. The book, “Effective Transport Systems: A Catalyst for Nigerian’s Socio-Economic Development,” advised the Federal Government to do a post-mortem of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) and the Nigerian Airways, to avoid a recurrence in event of re-establishment, but kept silence on whether or not government should go ahead with the initiative designed to be hundered percent private sector driven this time.
Apprised with the information that the proposed national shipping line has got the Pacific International Line (PIL) of Singapore as strategic partner with 40 percent equity holding, leaving 60 percent for Nigerian indigenous players; a stake that has even got funding support from African Import and Export Bank (AfriExim), Usoh advised that the Nigerian negotiators must do good negotiation.
According to him, “PIL has to also guarantee cargo availability whoever is negotiating this must ensure cargo is guaranteed both ways. There must be a balance. Government can guarantee cargo from all levels in Nigeria because 70 percent of goods that come into the country are government cargo, but the human factor must be addressed to avoid a repeat of what had happened”.
Dr. Usoh’s book will be formally presented this week under the chairmanship of Rear Admiral Allison Madueke (rtd.), while the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi is the chief host.
In a related development, the Director of Administration and Personnel Services, in Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Ibrahim Jibril in a presentation on the National Carrier: The Way Forward for Nigerian Economic Development, at the 2016 Luncheon of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), recently said national fleet “would boost economic growth and development, strategic national interest, national pride as well as job creation for the youths”.
He re-emphasized that “Cabotage activities involving movement of shore oil prospecting and drilling equipment are still controlled by foreigners, denying Nigeria’s maritime sector and the Federal Government a lot of accruable revenue.
Jibril continued: “The vision of increasing local content participation in the Nigeria’s maritime industry should be pursued vigorously with the establishment of a national carrier at the fore-front. Nigeria is the only oil producing nation without a national fleet, whereas, Angola which recently joined the ranks of oil producing countries has a fleet for her oil deliveries. With national carrier, Nigeria would be enabled to quickly and effectively take control of the maritime activities along the West African Sub- region, so we can become maritime super power in the region. It would increase effective participation of Nigerian owned vessels and reduce the foreign influence, exorbitant charges and price fixing of freight rate which have inflationary tendencies would be reduced and more joint ventures would be formed with foreign companies to create synergy leading to an exchange of technology, increased competition and efficiency”.
Meanwhile, over N400million belonging to the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA), is currently trapped in ASO Savings and Loans, a mortgage bank in Nigeria.
Disclosing this to the Managing Director of the NPA, during a tour of the Eastern ports, the Zonal Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Ports Authority, Port Harcourt Zone, Comrade Musa Doma said that the money was supposed to be a revolving loan for the staff of the authority.
Doma said that since the money was deposited at the Bank, nobody had benefitted from the money, adding that cheques that were issued and presented at the Bank were never honoured.
The labour leader disclosed that the money was deposited more than five years ago and up till the time of filing this report, no NPA’s staff has been able to access the fund.
He said ” The Union had to raise alarm over the fund at the bank because no member of the immediate past management of the authority could explain why the money could not be accessed and why it is trapped.
“We crave your indulgence to investigate the matter and retrieve the money from the bank in question. This money has been with the bank since 2010-2011.”
Ms. Hadiza Bala- Usman, Chief Executive Officer of the NPA said that management would certainly look into the matter with a view to retrieving the money from the bank.
Efforts to reach the bank for comments were futile as calls made to their phones were not answered.
In a related development, NPA has commenced moves to revoke the concession agreement of BUA Terminal in Port Harcourt for the firm’s inability to repair its quay apron.
Bala- Usman told the firm’s General Manager, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim that the authority would send them a letter to commence the process of sanction.