By Godfrey Bivbere
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, has said that a developed shipping industry has potential to contribute about five percent to the nation’s economy.
Jamoh disclosed this in Lagos when he received members of the National Fleet Implementation Committee who paid him a courtesy visit at the agency’s headquarters.
He explained that the development of shipping would be better achieved by the establishment of a national carrier. He 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.
The NIMASA boss told the team led by the committee chairman and Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, that the need for a national carrier cannot be over-emphasised owing to the enormous economic benefits it offers.
He stated: “Nigeria cannot be caught unaware; we need to look at ways of developing our shipping sector, which, from studies, is capable of earning for the country even more than oil annually.”
Jamoh stated that the Nigerian maritime sector had the potential to grow between three and five per cent annually due to the size of the local market, but regretted that this capacity remained mostly untapped.
He said: “Since the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) in 1995, the country had been looking for avenues to float a national carrier, though through private sector participation.”
He added 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 fortunes of the country.
In his remarks, Bello said the committee was at a critical stage of the national fleet implementation process, stressing that capital injection is required at this juncture to actualise the project.
“The quest for a Nigerian fleet is essential in ensuring that the country regains control of its external trade, thereby opening up the economy,” he stated.