The Federal Government is currently in dire need of private investors to fill in the 60 per cent share zoned to Nigeria under the planned new Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
It would be recalled that Nigeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pacific International Line (PIL) of Singapore for a new national shipping line, which will see the Singaporean firm controlling 40 per cent stake and Nigerian private investors controlling 60 per cent of the proposed national shipping line.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, a member of the entourage to Singapore who declined having his name in print, explained that since the government signed the MoU with PIL, none of the indigenous private sector players have come forward to stake their claim for the 60 per cent zoned to Nigeria.
According to him, “the MoU with PIL is geared towards establishing a new national shipping line for Nigeria. However, we are yet to see the private sector players come forward to stake their claims on the 60 per cent zoned to us.
“It is imperative that everybody realises the fact that the Federal Government will not put a kobo down into the new national shipping line. We expect the fleets to be 100 per cent owned, and 100 per cent private sector driven.
“The PIL will own 40 per cent stake, while Nigerian private sector players will own the remaining 60 per cent stake. Under the MoU signed in Singapore, PIL has been mandated to develop a business plan for this brilliant initiative.
“After PIL develops the business plan, it will be presented to the Federal Government of Nigeria for review and subsequent adoption.
“An independent consulting firm has even been appointed to work out the modalities for a transparent and open participatory field for every Nigerian private sector player that is interested in the opportunity.
“The proposed shipping line will delve into bulk, liquid and general cargoes operations. So it will not be limited to one aspect of maritime business. We are also looking at future agricultural exports being done by this shipping line.
“With all this in place, we expect the private sector players to be turning over themselves for a stake in this new national shipping line by showing interest and putting their money where their mouth is.
“By now, we expected to have started seeing interest from the private sector players, but we are still waiting. Government won’t spend a kobo into this. The fact that the Singapore MoU was signed through the Federal Government does not mean we will be part of it financially.
“It is time for Nigerians to take their destiny in their hands. What led to the demise of the first national shipping line is enough deterrent for government to stay away from this new shipping line financially. It is going to be private sector driven.”