Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has directed the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council; Mr Hassan Bello to begin immediate implementation of the report of the committee on establishment of a national carrier.
The Minister gave the directive while receiving the committee’s report in Abuja .
The committee which draws its membership from across the maritime industry is headed by former Administrator of Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron Akwa Ibom state and former Government Inspector of Ships; Engr Olu Akinsoji.
Receiving the report, the Minister pledged to provide the necessary instrument for the implementation of the recommendations of the committee.
He also approved the report of the Committee even as he disclosed that part of the fund to be used in the implementation of the report will come from the Cabotage Fund.
The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) was created by the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003, to promote ship acquisition by supporting ship owners.
Section 42, Part VIII of Section 44 of the Act empowers NIMASA to collect and administer the fund, under guidelines by the Minister of Transport, after approval by the National Assembly.
He said, ``let me say that you are more serious than I am on this and that I will give you people the necessary instrument to implement it; part of the fund we will use is the Cabotage Fund.’’
The minister warned that the criteria for choosing who should benefit must be transparent.
``How do you choose those qualified to access the fund because in the 60 per cent you would have, I am sure that most of you will want to access the Cabotage money as part of your equity contribution?
``If you are selfish, I will pull it out; it means that I must not see your private interest; you must ensure that everybody’s interest is involved, otherwise you will tear the maritime sector apart.’’
While submitting the report earlier, Chairman, Ministerial Committee on Modalities for the Establishment of Nigerian Fleet for the nation’s shipping sector; Engr Olu Akinsoji, has said that Nigeria lost 2.2 billion dollars in 2014 due to the lack of ships.
Akinsoji said this while submitting the committee's report to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi in Abuja.
He said that in 2014, over 5,000 ships sailed into Nigeria, but noted that most of them were not owned by Nigerians.
``If 50 per cent of the number of ships that came to Nigeria in 2014 were Nigerian ships, earning 3,000 dollars per person, Nigeria would have generated 2.2 billion dollars in that year.
“That is apart from the freight that is accruable by carrying Nigerian cargoes; the seafarer who would have worked on those ships, would have earned 2.2billion dollars.
``Every family of that seafarer would have benefited from the cargoes; so, these are the kind of losses we are making for not having ships that are carrying our tag.
``All the international cargoes we generated were carried by foreigners; we do not have ships in international waters carrying dry cargoes. ``
According to him, if Nigeria has ships in international waters carrying dry cargoes, the country will generate huge financial resources and create jobs for youths in the maritime sector.
Source: Shipping Position
Source: Shipping Position