The Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman has constituted a 12-member committee to work out modalities of having indigenous ship owners transport crude oil.
The Minister also presided over a meeting with stakeholders in the maritime industry in Lagos, asked the committee to submit its report within two weeks.
The committee comprised representatives of the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) Indigenous Ship-Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) , Federal Ministry of Finance and other representatives.
Suleiman said the ministry was making efforts to ensure indigenous ship-owners secure government’s approval to move crude oil. This is coming on the heels of reported loss of over N1.57 trillion by Nigeria through the carrying of its crude oil by foreign shipping firms.
He explained that there was need for the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to approve the shipment of oil based on cost, insurance and freight (CIF).
The minister noted that a lot of money that would have been collected by government agencies got missing through sales of the crude oil based on Free On Board (FOB0. he said such sales pattern had led to revenue leakages and stunted growth in the maritme industry.
Suleiman said the ministry would discuss with NNPC to be sure that its operations would not be jeopardized by the indigenous ship owners. “we will talk to NNPC to start the process of freight and asked the shipping companies to start carrying bilateral cargoes”, he said.
He said the NNPC and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources had insisted that indigenous ship owners must show that they are capable of effective handling the cargoes.
Suleiman said in doing this, government would not have a repeat of what happened during the cargo allocation era.
If the cargoes are given to indigenous shipping companies the economy would develop and more job opportunities would be created, the minister said.
On controversies over, the waiver clause, in the Cabotage Act, the Minister said in line with what obtains in other countries, he agreed that for any company that applied for waiver or exemption, the request could be forwarded to ISAN for their own inputs, saying, this would determine whether on indigenous company could handle it or not.
The chairman of ISAN, Chief Isaac Jolapamo said more than 200 ships owned by members of the association, mostly tankers and off-dock supply vessels were old.
He recalled that sometimes the association asked for ship repair and refurbishment fund so that some of the old vessels could be repaired, but nothing was done by government.
He called for strict enforcement of the cabotage law for government to generate enough revenue for the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) for Nigeria to acquire new vessels.
FG Unveils Incentives For Indigenous Ship Owners
The Federal Government says it will soon unveil incentives for indigenous ship owners in the country.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, disclosed this recently while hosting members of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) in his office in Apapa, Lagos,
Jime, who assured indigenous ship owners that the Federal Government will soon unveil incentives to enable them acquire and maintain ships, listed the incentives to include zero import duty of vessels, abolition of the controversial temporary importation permit imposed by the Nigeria Customs Service, and setting up of a Shipping Sector Support Fund.
“Ship ownership, to me, represents a central place in the maritime industry. I can also go further to say that if Nigeria is actually going to take its rightful place and be recognized as a maritime hub, then ship ownership would become topical as far as the industry is concerned.
“So, that, to me, is the reason I consider this visit as one of the most important engagements I’ve had since my arrival in this assignment”, he said.
He noted that unless the Nigerian ship owning community grows and becomes competitive enough to take centre stage as far as shipping activities are concerned, Nigeria will not derive maximum value from the maritime industry.
According to him, the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee has been saddled with the responsibilities of mobilizing the public and private sectors in a bid to establish a strong ship ownership community in the country.
“We have also been mandated to develop a framework that would support the establishment of a sustainable Nigerian Fleet.
“Also, we are given the responsibility to develop strategies that will incentivise. In other words, incentives that are needed to be put in place. These are strategies that will engender incentives for ship owners.
“We are also saddled with the responsibility to set out action items that would encourage the development of ship building and ship repair facilities. Then, we will provide guidelines and recommendations to augment the maritime manpower capacity.
In response to what the stated incentives are, he said, “the first, which I believe, is topical and and which we have been discussing is the ability to access zero import duty of vessels.
“I know that part of that has been achieved, but there are lots more to go down the road to abolish temporary importation permit to impose stringent measures. This concerns the Nigeria Customs Service.
“We believe that the key incentive is the Shipping Sector Support Fund. We are talking of shipping and it is an area that is highly capital intensive. So, if you are able to put that job of the fund in place as an incentive, other things would be easier. We also believe that waiver of export tariffs for the use of Nigerian vessels is also key,” he concluded.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Rivers Dockworkers Want More Vessels in Eastern Ports
Dockworkers working with terminal operators in Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex, have called on the Authority to bring more sea going vessels to the Eastern Ports to boost maritime activities in the region.
They noted that improved maritime activities in Eastern ports would create employments and increase the welfare and salaries of the workers.
Making the call in an exclusive interview at the weekend in Port Harcourt, a Trustee of the Dockworkers, and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Harry Waite, said the more Federal Government and NPA bring vessels to the Ports, it would enhance and improve the living conditions of dockworkers in the state and beyond.
“We are trying to tell NPA to make sure that the Eastern Ports are empowered by bringing more vessels to the Ports, so that dockworkers would see work to do in the terminals”.
“The more NPA brings vessels to the ports, the more dockworkers can work and earn their living”, Harry said.
While noting that Dockworkers are neither staff of government nor NPA, he said they are labour employers in private companies under the terminal operations operating in the Ports.
“Improvement in the life of the Dockworkers are in the hands of their employees, not government, and they can only improve when more vessels start coming to the four Eastern ports through the efforts of NPA.
“The more NPA brings in vessels to ports, the more the terminal operators will increase salaries and welfare of the dockworkers in the terminals”, he said.
Stories By: Chinedu Wosu
Lekki Seaport Begins Operations In 4th Quarter – Dabiri
Chairman, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Abiodun Dabiri, says the Port would commence commercial operations by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Dabiri said the ongoing dredging and reclamation works have reached 89.93 percent, while the building of quay walls has reached 85.65 percent.
Making this revelation recently, while presenting Lekki Port completion status report to newsmen in Lagos, Dabiri said with 16.5meter draught, Lekki Port will be one of the deepest in West and Central Africa.
He noted that with the completion rate at 80 percent, construction work may end at the third quarter 2022 and would be feasible, while commercial operations will commence by the fourth quarter of 2022 as planned.
“We understand the significance of this project to the Nigerian economy and we would not fail to play our part to ensure that it is delivered as and when due.
“Nigeria has lost its hub status to Lome Port due to the shallowness of the draft and archaic infrastructure at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports”, he noted.
The report further stated that the effort to complete construction works at the breakwater has gained significant improvement as it now stands at 79.66 percent, while the construction of the landside infrastructure at the port has gained significant attention as it now stands at 67.82 percent.
Upon completion, Dabiri said, Lekki Port would be a world-class port operating with best-in-class equipment to ensure seamless operations and would comply with global environmental protection standards.
He added that Lekki Port is the deepest seaport in the sub-Saharan African region and would serve as a transhipment hub for the region.
Earlier, Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the agency has commenced the process of acquiring all necessary marine equipment.
Bello-Koko assured stakeholders that the agency is ready to play its part to ensure the smooth takeoff of Port operations upon completion of construction.
“NPA has commenced the process of acquiring all necessary marine equipment, including tug boats and mooring boats”, he said.
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