Nigeria to Own, Operate Ships in Three Years—Shippers’ Council Boss

Says Nigeria Lost $9 billion to Freight in 2015

By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News

The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Barr. Hassan Bello, has on Thursday revealed that Nigeria will in the next three years or lesser, own and operate her own ships.

This is just as he revealed that the Council is working hard with the economic team under the Vice President and also the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, to ensure that there are very important incentives to bring private sectors on board.

Bello who made these disclosures at a one day seminar for Abuja Transport and Aviation Correspondents Association (ATACA), said, that it is only when a country controls its means of transportation that it can keep things together.

He further revealed that Nigeria lost $9 billion for freight in 2015 because Nigerians don’t own ships now, adding that not a single drop of oil is transported by Nigerian ships but foreigners.

According to him, “In 2015, Nigeria lost $9 billion for freight because Nigerians don’t own or operate ships in international carriage and that’s why it is important we pass through this issue of fleet implementation.

“Nigerian Shippers’ Council is also the chairman of the National Fleet implementation Committee, if we do that, we are going to have that $9 billion come into Nigeria’s economy, imagine the effect that it will have.

“What could we have done with that $9 billion if it was in our economy here? We are talking about involvement of indigenous shippers, our own banks our own insurance and our own olleges”, he said.

He further questioned how Nigeria can be a maritime nation if she doesn’t have ships, adding that, “other advantages of having a national fleet is for our national pride. We need to see ships flying Nigeria’s flag, it’s not rocket science, it is not reinventing the will because this has happened”.

He stressed that private sector participation is very important and called on the private sector to lead the way, adding that the Committee for fleet implementation is working to create an investment platform for investors to thrive.

“Another thing is employment and participation of our various indigenous companies and banks in this otherwise extremely lucrative area. Our cadets are there being trained, they wouldn’t have ship type because there are no ships. We talk of gender equality, we want women in seafaring but on what ships are they going to? We need to have those ships and so all hands must come together”, Bello emphasized.

While expressing dismay that Nigeria’s maritime contributes only 0.1% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP), he stressed that, if Nigeria gets the transportation industry right, it can finance the country’s budget, as it is a very good sector to start diversifying the economy.

Speaking on the dry ports and Truck Transit Parks (TTP), he noted that 5000 direct employment is expected from every where such dry ports are located, saying that they are thinking of giving 35% of the employment to women.

The Executive Secretary, also revealed that they are working to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with shipping companies, to reduce the cost of doing business by about 30 to 35 per cent in Nigeria.

The one day seminar had the theme, “Optimizing the Full Potentials of the Transportation Industry through Journalism”.

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