From Uche Usim, Abuja
Chairman, Implementation Committee on National Shipping Line, Hassan Bello, yesterday disclosed that the Federal Government would hand over the deal to seasoned private sector players to run it.
He told Daily Sun that government was only creating an enabling environment for private players who would be in total control of the operations of the new national fleet.
According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was brought into the project as part of the midwife team.
Bello said: “The committee inaugurated for the national fleet, which Shippers’ Council chairs has reached a stage now where the private sector would come in and take over. The government is just a catalyst.
“What is even more important is injection of two officials of NNPC into that committee. It includes the managing director of the NNPC Shipping Company. So, we are almost there.”
On the presidential mandate of ensuring 24-hour port operations and 48-hour cargo clearance, Bello said the Minister of Transport continually harped on the need to improve processes and procedures at the ports in line with global standards even before the presidential pronouncement.
“We have been having discussions on the executive order and how to achieve it, 24-hour port operations require a lot. All hands must be on deck,” he said.