FG to establish National Carrier, says Amaechi

Transportation Minister, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi

The Federal Government has expressed readiness to establish a national shipping line as part of efforts to develop the shipping sub-sector of the maritime industry.

The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking at the opening of the 2016 African Maritime Conference.

The three-day conference with the theme ‘Financing The African Fleet: ‘Capacity Development In The African Maritime Industry’ is holding at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island from Wednesday, Feb. 24 to Friday, Feb. 26.

Amaechi stated that national carrier would support the training of cadets on sea time, much as it would serve the purpose of being engaged in carrying the national cargo.
He, however, said that the industry would not involve in financing ‘gifts’ to people to lavish.

He said the industry would rather acquire vessels that Nigerians would own.
Speaking on the Cabotage Act, the minister said “We will urge the President to enforce the law on Cabotage, but that is after we have floated the National Carrier.

“We have agreed on a 60/40 model, where Nigerians own the larger percentage and the other goes to foreigners,” the Minister said.

He said the ministry would partner with industry operators in its bid to have a better-organised maritime sector, adding that the industry should be part of its wealth-creating plan.

The Honourable Minister urged industry operators to understand that government’s role should primarily be to support policy workability and ensure stability to the benefit of the trade environment.

With respect to sea time for cadets, Amaechi said the goal for establishing the Maritime Academy, Oron in Akwa Ibom, had been defeated.

He also reiterated the need to carry out a performance audit of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) to right whatever wrong that may have existed there.

The minister called for proper briefing on the transporter, MV HORTEN, said to be laying redundant on the marina waters, while it was reported to having the capacity for training of 135 cadets at sea.

It would be recalled that the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line was liquidated in 1995.