In line with the effort of the Federal Government to make the maritime industry grow, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello has stated the need to boost indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria.
He stated this yesterday when he received the new executives of the Nigeria Ship owners Association (NISA) in his office in Lagos, yesterday.
Stating the need to boost the shipping capacity, he said many countries relied on the maritime industry hence, it has become necessary to boost the sub sector as a means of revenue generation to the economy of the country.
Bello also said there was the need to harness the resources of the maritime industry for diversification of the nation’s economy.
He lauded the support of other government agencies as well as the stakeholders.
He said, “There have been several efforts by government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority striving for greater achievements.
“All government agencies and stakeholders have been working together to make sure that there is a free level-playing ground and equilibrium so that all the sub-sectors would contribute to the economy.
“We have to protect our indigenous ship owners; we have to encourage them and patronise them; and also reserve cargo for them,” he emphasised.
He said the carriage of crude on Free On Board (FOB) basis was detrimental to the development of the country, adding that Nigeria and two other countries were the only countries carrying crude oil on FOB basis.
Bello said the council had made presentations to the Federal Government to reverse the carriage of crude oil on FOB basis in the interest of Nigerians.
He, however, said that even though shipping was international trade, it should give room for local interests.
The NSC boss called for the support of NISA to move the industry forward.
However, the President of NISA, Capt. Niyi Labinjo, pledged to collaborate with the NSC as a major stakeholder to move maritime industry forward.
Labinjo said there was need for Nigeria to take up the shipping jobs in the country as he said that was the main item in his campaign message.
He said the global best practices had indicated that the council was not just a regulator but also a service provider.
In his words, “The Nigerian Shippers’ Council should see itself as a service provider that needs to do its best to win customers.
“You want the indigenous ship owners to remain in the country and if you want us to remain here, we need encouragement.
You can encourage us by providing mouth-watering incentives so that we can continue our trade here,” he added.
Speaking further, he said that government corporations all over the world had limited place for employment, adding that it was the private sector that created most employment.
Labinjo said that many world leaders had been coming to Nigeria to persuade maritime stakeholders to invest in their countries, saying that the Nigerian government was also doing same.
However, he stated that his vision was to bring back shipping jobs which had been taken over by the foreigners.
He said that if such jobs were brought back, it would eliminate illegality saying, “We are going to eliminate illegality in the maritime industry with the co-operation of the council.
“Instead of allowing our members to participate in illegality, we will allow our members to have regular and official jobs which the foreign shipping service providers have taken,’’ he vowed.
According to him, we can send the foreign shipping service providers out of Nigeria and take over because we cannot go to any country outside Nigeria and work freely, `Labinjo concluded.