The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, on Wednesday, said a Nigerian fleet is achievable in two months with the support of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to a statement by Dr Sam Idiagbonya, the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, he expressed this optimism while receiving the interim report of the National Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC) on the establishment of national fleet for Nigeria.
The minister, while receiving the report, described as a misnomer the situation where Nigeria, a maritime-inclined economy, had to start looking for resources from the oil sector to boost its GDP earnings.
Sambo had asked if the committee consulted stakeholders, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), saying “because if NNPC can give 100 per cent support, the matter can be closed in two months.”
Earlier, Mr Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Chairman, Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC), said the committee was constituted by the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
He said the objective was to implement the recommendations contained in earlier Ministerial Committee’s report on modalities for the establishment of a Nigerian fleet.
Jime, who was represented by the Managing Director, Sea Transport Group and member, NFIC, Alhaji Umar Aminu, stated that the initiative was a way of responding to the non-participation of Nigerians in the carriage of Nigeria’s international cargo.
He noted that it was also to ensure that the usual loss of freight revenue, jobs and other benefits would come to an end.
“In the course of carrying out the mandate, lessons have been learnt 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 sustainable Nigerian fleet will be achieved in due course,” he said.
Jime noted that there were challenges that impeded the quick realisation of the project as earlier envisaged, adding that shipping was international and competitive in nature and that Nigeria could not operate in isolation.
Hence, he said there was the need to ensure the operating environment met international standards.
According to him, “This has been a major challenge to the growth of the sector in Nigeria.
“Review of certain trade policies, access to funds and technical/human capacity are issues that need to be resolved.”
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