Why National Fleet Is Yet To Come On Stream —Hassan Bello

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC); Mr Hassan Bello has blamed the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic as one of the reasons that the much-expected national fleet is yet to come on stream.

In a chat with Shipping Position Daily, Bello who is the chairman of the committee that was set up by the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Ameachi informed that the committee has been able to achieve a lot, but was slowed down by the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Speaking on some of the achievements of the committee so far, the NSC boss informed that the committee has been able to get pioneer status and tax exemptions to invest in ship management and ship operations in Nigeria, adding that the committee is working hard to deliver a sustainable national fleet.

He explained that the National Fleet is not a one-year project, he added that the project could take up to five years, to actualize.

According to him, the National carrier is a fundamental economic project in which all indices must be considered.

He explained that: “First of all, you have to look at the laws and the policies for even investors to come in. There are certain laws and policies that must change. There are incentives that must be provided and we are working on all those.

“We had addressed the vice president and the economic management team. After that, the VP directed the ministers of Finance and Trade and Investments to work with our committee through the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, to look at the possible areas to prioritize.

“We want to incorporate our banks and insurance companies because of the local content requirement. This will further generate wealth and employment. We also need to carry out reforms in the ship registry in Nigeria. We want ships to be registered in Nigeria and carry the Nigerian flag. We also have to look at the nautical colleges like the Maritime Academy Oron to be sure the cadets have sufficient internationally-acknowledged training and certification to work on Nigerian-flagged ships.

“We have to look at ship building and ship maintenance yards. Of what use would it be if we have a national fleet but every repair has to go to other countries? So we are doing a comprehensive job, so we can have an enduring national fleet to complement Nigeria’s trading economy.

Bello also informed that the committee is in talks with the Sealink project in order to advance intra-African Ship exchanging exercises among African nations.