The Chairman, National Fleet Implementation Committee, Hassan Bello has revealed that Nigeria’s quest for a new national fleet is now at a critical stage, where capital injection is urgently needed to make the dream a reality.
Speaking on Wednesday when his committee paid a courtesy visit to the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh; Bello added that this is a perfect time for Nigeria to invest in its own fleet, with global dependency on oil projected to dwindle considerably by 2030 and alternative power sources replacing fossil fuels in many countries.
According to Bello who is also the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), “The quest for a Nigerian fleet is essential in ensuring that the country regains control of our external trade, thereby opening up the economy. This is a perfect time for Nigeria to invest in its own fleet, with global dependency on oil projected to dwindle considerably by 2030 and alternative power sources replacing fossil fuels in many countries.
“Consequently, a mono-economy, such as ours, should be diversifying into other revenue streams, with maritime being a major potential earner.”
Bello added that the primary objectives of the committee were to create employment opportunities for Nigerians; reposition the Nigerian maritime sector; and generate revenue for the Federal Government as well as economic benefits to businesses ancillary to the maritime sector, such as the logistics and services.
Speaking earlier while receiving the committee, the NIMASA DG reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to the establishment of a strong and sustainable national fleet, saying the desire for a Nigerian shipping line is gradually being achieved.
In the words of Bashir Jamoh, “There is no better time to have a national carrier and develop the maritime industry than now, when the world is gradually looking away from fossil fuels, which currently form the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, and President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to diversify the economy from oil.
“Nigeria cannot be caught unawares; we need to look at ways of developing our shipping sector, which, from studies, is capable of earning the country even more than oil annually.”
Jamoh added that the Nigerian maritime sector had the potential to grow by between three and five per cent annually due to the size of the local market, but regretted that this capacity remained mostly untapped. He said since the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) in 1995, the country had been looking for avenues to float a national carrier, though through private sector participation.
“We need to have a sustainable national shipping line in order to avoid the reasons the NNSL was liquidated. The committee must focus on ensuring that the implementation stands the test of time,” Jamoh said.
He said the Agency’s commitment to fully and actively supporting the drive for a wholly Nigerian-owned and operated fleet was unwavering, explaining that it is one of the main pillars that NIMASA is built upon.
Also speaking during the courtesy visit, members of the National Fleet Implementation Committee and also prominent shipowners, Mallam Aminu Umar and Chief Isaac Jolapamo commended NIMASA for its active role in the fleet implementation process.
Recall that the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) was liquidated in 1995 after running into debts and becoming insolvent due to bad management and direction.