By Francis Ogwo
About $1.9 billion is being lost to foreign ship owners annually. This was made known by the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Hassan Bello, made this disclosure in Abuja.
Bello noted that Nigeria was losing $1.9bn to foreign ship owners annually while appealing to the GMD to encourage Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) subsidiaries to always engage indigenous shipping companies in their businesses.
He urged the NNPC to grant local shipping companies the right of first refusal in crude oil lifting contracts, saying it would help grow the economy and sustain their businesses while adding that the committee was set up three years ago by the Federal Ministry of Transportation
According to him, the committee had a mandate to promote Nigerian ownership of ships and vessels to enable local companies take control of the shipping business which is in line with the economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.
The NNPC in their response, declared support for the indigenous shipping firms towards boosting their operations and fortunes in the oil and gas maritime business in Nigeria.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said with the scale of the corporation’s activities in the maritime sector, NNPC would get more active in the affairs of the Fleet Management Committee with a view to strengthening the synergy between the Corporation and the private sector.
“We believe in this process, we will ensure that Nigerian ships enjoy a greater patronage in the business henceforth,” Kyari assured.
Recall that there have been conscious efforts by private sector and Nigeria’s maritime agencies towards boosting the revenue of the country from the waterways. This according to majority views have not been possible due to the poor condition of the ports and operational hurdles.