By Godwin Oritse
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Alhaji Shehu Ladan has said that his administration will support Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN)Â to participate in the lifting of crude oil LadanÂ disclosed thisÂ last Thursday at a receptionÂ held in his honour.
He said thatÂ his tenure as group Managing Director will assist ISAN to get technical support to updateÂ their vessels which has been a major complaint against them.
The NNPC boss who spoke extensively on the maritime industry said that the sector is one of the most mature and organised sectors which has a regulator and operators that are willing to harness its potentials for the benefit of the country.
â€œThis is one of the most mature sectors you can think of, andÂ that is why you have a policy body well in place, a regulator well in place and the players well in place and that is what the oil and gas industry shouldÂ beâ€ Ladan said.
Also speaking Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Sulaiman represented by the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Temisan Omatseye lamented that indigenous operators have not tapped the goldmine in shipping due to the dominance of the sector by foreign operators over the years.
â€œZero percent of our crude is not being carried by any Nigerian flagged vessel, zero per cent of our gas is not been carried by any Nigerian flagged vessel while 70 per cent of our off shore industry is still being controlledby foreigners.â€œNigeria currently imports over one million tons of rice yearly, but I can tell you that not a single grain of it is being lifted by the local carriers, and I dare say this is sad for the economy, these is sad for the indigenous operators who are expected to generate employment for our restive youthsâ€ he said.
The newÂ minister stated â€œWith the signing into law of the Local Content Bill by the Acting President, we shall now use the law which says every public sector cargo must be carried by Nigerian vessels. We are not going to settle for anything less as the law is now strongly on our side. â€œAll that is needed from the ISAN is to show necessary competence which I am sure is not in short supplyâ€
Speaking earlier in his address of welcome, Chairman of ISAN, Chief Isaac Morakinyo Jolapamo, recalled that Captain Ihenacho who is a Master mariner had been at the forefront of the quest for indigenous carriersâ€™ participation of the lucrative lifting of the nationâ€™s crude before his ministerial appointment.
men on board, we can be hopeful that something good will soon happenâ€ Jolamapo said.
Meanwhile, Ihenacho has said that he will support the minister of transport in the development of the transport sector.
He assured stakeholders that they have lost nothing by not being appointed minister of transport saying that the Federal Executive Council allows for the cross_pollination of ideas.