The minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, on Wednesday, received an interim report on the establishment of a strong and sustainable national fleet by the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC).
The minister, who received the report from the executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, stated that Nigeria as a maritime nation needs to maximize its potential in the maritime sector l
The minister said, “Nigeria is a maritime country and if Nigeria gets its acts together, the country will have no business looking for money from the oil sector as a contribution to the GDP of the country.”
Speaking on how the project can be immediately realized, the minister said, “I don’t know whether, in the course of the Committee’s consultations with other Stakeholders, you were able to have some conversations with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) because, If NNPC, can give 100 percent support, this matter can be closed in two months.”
Earlier, the executive secretary, of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and Chairman, NFIC, Emmanuel Jime, said the Committee was constituted by the immediate past minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to implement the recommendations in the report by an earlier Ministerial Committee on Modalities for the Establishment of a Nigerian Fleet.
Jime who was represented by the chief executive officer, Sea Transport Group, and member, NFIC, Umar Aminu, the initiative was a way of responding to the non-participation of Nigerians in the carriage of Nigeria’s international cargo as well as the loss of freight revenue, jobs and other benefits which would otherwise have accrued to the country.
He also said: “In the course of carrying out the mandate, lessons have been learned and some modest achievements have been recorded. These have been captured in this interim report which we are submitting today. The work is still ongoing and the goal of creating an enabling environment for the growth of a sustainable Nigerian fleet will be achieved in due course”.
Jime noted, “There were challenges that impeded the quick realization of the project as earlier envisaged. Shipping is international and competitive in nature and Nigeria cannot operate in isolation, hence the need for the operating environment to be similar to what obtains elsewhere.
“ This has been a major challenge to the growth of the sector in Nigeria. Review of certain trade policies, access to funds, and technical/human capacity are issues that need to be resolved.”