The Nigerian Ship Owners Association (NISA) are seeking the establishment of an intervention fund for shipping development in line with the similar fund already established for the manufacturing, construction and other sectors of the economy.
Making the call in Lagos while reacting to plans by the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, to establish a National Carrier, President of NISA, Sola Adewumi, said the government seems not to realise the importance of shipping in terms of revenue generation for the economy.
Adewumi noted that there is a need for the shipping sector to benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervention fund which is given at single digit.
He stressed that the minister should be considering home grown solutions to shipping problems in the country.
According to him, “The maritime industry can also access intervention funds like other businesses such as power generation and distribution, Infrastructure Bank for construction companies and Bank of Industry (BoI) for the manufacturers and other CBN intervention funds at single digit interest rate.
“We are skeptical about the statement credited to the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy to the effect that he is tinkering with the establishment of a National Carrier during the courtesy call of the Danish Minister of Transportation.
“The Minister must have been quoted out of context because of our conviction that the minister is a strong believer in the Nigeria project and as such, believes in a home grown solution to the problems of shipping with active participation of Nigerian ship-owners and investors in line with the extant laws regulating the industry including the Cabotage Act and Local Content regulations which were deliberately and painstakingly promulgated to protect indigenous shipping for national security.
“The minister should quickly rally stakeholders in the maritime and blue economy towards finding a lasting solution to the perennial problems of shipping by ensuring that the local content and cabotage laws are strictly adhered to without any frivolous waivers which gives latitude to foreign domination,” he noted.