• Shippers’ Council urges private sector to key into the maritime developmental goal
Concerned operators in the shipping sector have bemoaned the non-inclusion of Nigerian vessels in crude oil lifting after about 60 years of oil production.
President, Ship owners Association of Nigeria, and Chief Executive Officer, Starz Investments Limited, Greg Ogbeifun, at a summit held by the Association Of Marine Engineers & Surveyors (AMES) in Lagos recounted how Nigeria, being an oil exporting nation has not employed any of its ships in exporting her oil to other countries.
Ogbeifun, who spoke on the theme:“Ship operations in Nigeria: Policy, technical, financial challenges and solutions”, enjoined the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to support indigenous operators with crude oil lifting contracts in order to sustain local participation in the industry.
Chairman, Committee of Ship Registry, Emmanuel Ilori, lamented the dearth of experienced marine engineers and surveyors, noting that the veteran operators were aging and there was no succession plan.
“There is no single marine professional above grade level 10 in Nigeria’s maritime sector”, he said.
He also enjoined the Federal Government to take a cue from the aviation sector by establishing an agency to be known as ‘Accidents Investigation Bureau (AIB)’ to provide in-depth study and statistics of accidents in the nation’s maritime domain.
Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello called for the adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to drive the transport sector development.
Bello, who made this call while delivering a paper titled: “Nigerian Transport Policy: Maritime Dimensions”, maintained that the public sector must see itself as a servant to the private sector even as he said that the private sector must play the leading role in investment in transportation.
The Shippers’ Council boss stressed that the realization of multimodal transportation and integration of all transport infrastructure to the ports wouldn’t be possible without private sector involvement.
He assured that government would leave no stone unturned, until the use of rails, roads, inland waterway and airways are fully harmonized, harnessed and made to serve the Nigerian needs.
“I know we have huge deficit in transport infrastructure but I also see that there is an opportunity; the way forward is public private partnership so that the risks can be apportioned and shared. Like the dry ports that we have, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is promoting Truck Transit Park, modern infrastructure driven by technology”
He explained that this development would enhance efficiency in the nation’s transport sector and consequently boosts the nation’s economy.
“We must have inclusiveness, employment content of our infrastructure, more people will be employed and there will be export and Nigeria will diversify her economic growth. We have to have linkage with the hinterland and that is the beauty of it, goods supposed to go to and from the hinterland before they get to the people,” he said.
President of AMES, Charles Uwadia said that the maritime industry is standing on a tripod namely; the political such as policy making, the technical dimension and funding, adding that without any of these in the right measure, the industry will falter.
The AMES President noted that the association had been encouraged by Minister’s unusual enthusiasm to turn the industry around for the better even as he assured the Minister that members of AMES would continue to work with the government and her agencies as they aspire to make full use of their vast experience and resources in making the sector accomplish its full potentials.