Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, the minister of transportation, has received an interim report on the need to establish a strong and sustainable national fleet from the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC).
Receiving the report in Abuja, Sambo said Nigeria will have no business looking for money from the oil sector if the potential of the maritime sector is properly harnessed to contribute to the GDP.
While pointing out the need for the committee to work with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Minister said that if NNPC can give 100 percent support to the vision of the committee, the matter of establishing a national fleet can be closed in two months.
Earlier, Emmanuel Jime, the executive secretary, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and chairman of NFIC, said the Committee was constituted by the immediate past Minister of Transportation to implement the recommendations in the report by an earlier Ministerial Committee on Modalities for the Establishment of a Nigerian Fleet.
Represented by Umar Aminu, managing director of Sea Transport Group and member of NFIC, Jime said the initiative was a way of responding to the non-participation of Nigerians in the carriage of international cargo as well as the loss of freight revenue, jobs, and other benefits which would otherwise have accrued to the country.
“In the course of carrying out the mandate, lessons have been learned and some modest achievements have been recorded. These have been captured in this interim report which we are submitting today. The work is still ongoing and the goal of creating an enabling environment for the growth of a sustainable Nigerian fleet will be achieved in due course,” he said.
According to him, there is an urgent need to review certain trade policies, create access to funds, and support techniques as well as human capacity development.
“There were challenges that impeded the quick realisation of the project earlier. Shipping is international and competitive in nature, and Nigeria cannot operate in isolation, hence the need for the operating environment to be similar to what obtains elsewhere,” he added.