Insecurity: Nigeria’s Maritime Sector Loses Over 30,000 Job Opportunities

Insecurity: Nigeria's Maritime Sector Loses Over 30,000 Job Opportunities
Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)

The National President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike has said that 30,000 untapped opportunities are readily available in various sectors if the nation can keep its waters safe from maritime piracy, sea robbery, oil theft and kidnapping.
Nwabunike who disclosed this while speaking on the topic: “Blue economy: Pathway for Nigeria’s economic diversification” at the 8th Nigeria Annual Transport Lecture held at Sheraton Hotel Ikeja, added that the nation’s dwindling revenue can be addressed if the waters are safe for legitimate businesses and properly linked to the oil sector.
The ANCLA boss recalled that National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) recently declared that it would deduct N112 billion from oil and gas proceeds for April to ensure continuous supply of petroleum products to the country and guarantee energy security.
This according to him, is an indication that oil money alone cannot satisfy the nation’s thirst for funds as it would affect all tiers of government in payment of salaries, pensions and other mandatory obligations of the government.
His words: “Areas such as Import, Export, Fishing, Tourism, Transport, Chandling, Dredging and others abound with potentials to give governments at all tiers more taxes and provide sustainable earnings that could exceed what we have in the oil sector presently”
He added that relying on oil revenue alone for sustainability would only lead into accumulation of debts and seeking for debt relief when the nation is not capable of paying back.
The ANCLA president also called for more participation of indigenous ship owners in lifting of the nation’s crude oil as it is currently dominated by foreign vessels.
Meanwhile, he commended Liquified Natural Gas and Liquified Petroleum Gas ( LPG) vessels under the Nigeria LNG Limited and it’s subsidiary, Nigera LNG Ship Management Limited (NSML) for involving Nigerians as crew members.
How words: “Over 97 percent of ships lifting Nigerian crude oil to buyers in refining countries and vessels bringing refined petroleum products into the country are foreign owned. These ships trading on our waters and carrying our number one foreign exchange products are manned mainly by foreign professionals and deckhands. Nigerian ship owners are struggling to break into this area of investment.”
“Over the years , I have followed the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and posit that it is doing very well in expanding opportunities for Nigerians in the oil industry but has not synchronized with other agencies like NIMASA to promote our cabotage regime in maritime.”
He added that the oil industry is truly not interfacing enough with the maritime sector to help in reversing the trend of inadequate participation of Nigerian investors and professionals in the lifting of crude oil and working as crew members onboard ships trading on the nation’s waters.
Commending the efforts of the Federal Government through Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the “Deep Blue Project” he noted the project would go a long way in fighting piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and nation’s territorial waters.
Nwabudike also urged the Federal Government to involve youths of coastal communities to form Civilian Task Force as support to the efforts of Navy and other security agencies in nipping maritime insecurity in the bud.
His words: “Most thriving businesses in our maritime domain are forced to spend a good part of their profits on the provision of security. Where such private arrangements are not made, oil , construction and other workers operating or transiting through waters face risk of kidnap, robbery or murder
“Our maritime security profile and reputation is not impressive and should be urgently and practically worked upon. Everyone agrees that a safer and more secure maritime sector will open a vista of economic improvements for us a country.”

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