By Frank Odinukaeze
Deliberate lack of clear policy direction,and outright refusal by some inordinate elements within government to formulate effective policy for implementation of Chandling activities in Nigeria,have been identified as major reasons why Nigeria has been losing scarce foreign exchange in the ship Chandling sub- sector.
President of the Nigeria Licensed ship chandling Association(NLSCA), Dr. Martins Emeka Enebeli stated this in an exclusive interview with MMSPLUS in Lagos.
Dr Enebel noted that lack of proper information and lack of adequate understanding of the chandling profession in Nigeria by those who design government maritime policies are impediments towards harnessing the rich economic potentials of the sun-sector. “You can’t give what you don’t have. Chandling is not on the burning trail of these agency. So policy direction, policy formulations are not well articulated. So, it invariably affects the operations; affects the operation on the hard key line, affects it at the harbour and affects it at the 200 economic exclusive zone. Affects it on international operations, affects it on cabotage operations and also affects it at the upstream; midstream; and downstream sector that chandling activities are very pronounced’ Enebeli said
He blamed bureaucracy, and wrong policy formulations for the short comings of the operators adding that the government need to put up a committee to really understand chandling activities,so that the proper formulation of policy will come from the government on the operations.
He said government should design a good policy frame work that will determine and streamline the activities of operators and operations.
” Government should put up a policy that would determine at what point will foreigners come in?, At what point will Nigerians operate?, At what point are we going to operate on the cabotage level?, At what point are we going to operate at international level, at what point are we going to operate at petroleum sector etc. These are policy directions. But because there are no clear, defined policy direction as at today order than the laws that we made as far as far back as 1958 under the Custom and Exercise Management Act (CEMA), Is that enough for modern dynamics of chandling? Chandling has gone hay wire” he said
Dr Enebeli noted that Ship chandling has gone beyond what it used to be in the past.
“it has gone more the way people thinks it is. It’s an international business ,the directions are completely different” he said
He said in order to harness and maximize the full potentials of the business government must come up with standing committee either at the administration level or presidential .
“I can tell you only chandling alone can employ over hundreds, thousands of Nigerians” he said.
He stressed that owing to the capital intensive nature of the business a lot of people cannot cope.
‘ For you to adequately perform as a Chandler, you need an average of about 100 million naira every thirty days. Does an average Nigeria Chandler have the capacity for that? The answer is no
On the International arrangements, within our eight seaports in our eleven terminal etc., Where foreign Ships berth, where is the the policy that guaranteed your chandling activities? Non. Nigeria government have signed both multilateral ang bilateral trade agreement here and there. The essence of it is to balance trade” he stated
He said some vessels come with foreign Cargo and go out Inballast, stressing that one
of the indirect ways to balance trade is to mandate the foreign vessels to carry out some of these services.
He decried a situation where foreign vessels will come into Nigeria with cargo and and after discharging,the same vessel will leave Inballast,only to go to South Africa to take ship turn and return back to Nigeria ,this according to him is unacceptable.