Director–General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to the establishment of a strong and sustainable national fleet, saying the desire for a Nigerian shipping line is gradually being achieved.
Jamoh stated this in Lagos while receiving members of the National Fleet Implementation Committee who paid him a courtesy visit at the agency’s headquarters.
He told the team led by the committee chairman and Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello, that the need for a Nigerian national carrier cannot be overemphasised owing to the enormous economic benefits it offers.
“There is no better time to have a national carrier and develop the maritime industry than now, when the world is gradually looking away from fossil fuels, which currently form the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, and President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to diversify the economy from oil.
“Nigeria cannot be caught unawares; we need to look at ways of developing our shipping sector, which, from studies, is capable of earning the country even more than oil annually,” he added.
Jamoh stated that the Nigerian maritime sector has the potential to grow by between 3 and 5per cent annually due to the size of the local market, but regretted that this capacity remained mostly untapped.
He recalled that since the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) in 1995, the country had been looking for avenues of floating a national carrier, even through private sector participation.
The NIMASA boss noted that the Federal Government had over the years put different measures in place to stimulate the maritime sector due to its strategic importance to the economic wellbeing of the country, while urging the country to learn from past experiences to avoid the pitfalls that ruined the NNSL.
“We need to have a sustainable national shipping line in order to avoid the reasons the NNSL was liquidated. The committee must focus on ensuring that the implementation stands the test of time,” Jamoh said.