Some operators in the petroleum industry on Tuesday said the non-participation of indigenous vessel owners in transportation of crude oil had created a setback for the economy.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos that the problem was denying indigenous firms the necessary capital to build-up capacity, while encouraging capital flight.
The Logistics and Facility Manager, International Oil Companies (IOCs), Mr Robinson Elerubo, said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the years, had been giving foreign companies the contract to transport crude.
“I do not see the big thing these foreign companies are doing that the indigenous ones cannot do.
“It is not in our national interest that our companies are relegated to the background in the transportation of crude oil.
“The nation is losing a great deal and capital flight is the order of the day as many of these companies involved in crude transportation, repatriate the proceeds to their countries,’’ Elerubo said.
He said at this moment, the Federal Government ought to block every revenue leakage to save the nation’s economy.
A transport broker, Mr Uba Basil-Ajala, said that denying the indigenous transporters the slots in carriage of crude oil was “anti development’’.
Basil-Ajala said that the stringent conditions being given by government agencies for indigenous companies to participate in the transportation of crude favoured foreign firms who had access to cheap loans.
“Of what advantage is it for us to put guidelines which companies in our society cannot meet; making the foreign ones to continue to have a field day.
“With indigenous carriers carrying our crude, many jobs will be available on-board for our teeming youths and seafarers,’’ he said.
According to him, the indigenous players are not comfortable with the trend because we are being sidelined.
He suggested that the Federal Government should streamline its policies to encourage domestic businesses.
Mr Akin Oderinde, Head of Emergency Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said the agency was working in collaboration with the NNPC to make a national fleet feasible.
“The national fleet which is to be operated on Private Partnership Participation basis will assist in growing the economy of the nation,’’ he said. (NAN)