Ex-NMA D-G makes case for indigenous ship owners to lift cargoes

 A shipping expert, Mr Patrick Egesi, has said that the federal government should accord priority to local production and transportation of cargoes by indigenous ship owners.
Egesi, a former Acting Director-General of the defunct National Maritime Authority (NMA), stated this in an interview in Lagos.

He said Nigeria’s economy could not depend solely on importation, adding that the economy could stabilise with local production.

“What sustains a country is foreign exchange. If you cannot produce things you can sell, then there is cause for worry.

“ You must find a niche in the trade where you can fit in.

“Shipping is relevant because of international trade. You cannot talk of shipping without trade.

“You cannot talk about Nigerian shipping without international macroeconomics; it will not develop.

“The major thing is to move cargo from point A to B,’’ he said.

Egesi advised that Nigerians should take advantage of production and exportation of agricultural products to make shipping more relevant.

“Gone are the period of shipping without production; Nigeria should encourage trade.

“The government should work toward developing agriculture and create products from agricultural produce, which can give Nigeria foreign exchange,’’ Egesi said.

He urged Nigeria to go the path of countries like India and Philippines which became manufacturers.
“They have ships of their own that can take their manufactured goods to the world,’’ Egesi said.
He said that the Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Programme (SASBF) failed because people treated it as a “gift.’’