The executive secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, yesterday said Nigeria lost $25 billion to foreign ship owners between 2015 and 2017.
Bello disclosed this when the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Budget and Planning in Abuja, Senator Udo Udoma.
Bello said over $9.08 was paid as freight for dry and wet cargos to foreign ship owners in 2015 due to the absence of Nigerian-owned fleet plying international routes.
The NSC boss revealed that the trend had been recurring over the years till date, adding that in 2016, over $7.55 billion was estimated as opportunity loss.
According to him, $8.60 billion was freight opportunity loss from import and export of dry and wet cargos in 2017.
“As a result of this, the Federal Ministry of Transportation through the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, set up a committee for the Nigerian fleet implementation,“ he said.
According to him, the committee was to examine the possibility of using existing shipping companies to run a Nigerian fleet and provide guidelines on procedures of establishing a shipping company.
Bello said that for government to realise its programme, a conducive environment backed by strong political will with incentives to operators had to be in place, even as he noted that the ministry of budget and planning played an important role in fiscal policy direction of government..
In his response, Udo Udoma said the ministry would work with relevant agencies to resolve the issues and support the committee fully.
“We will work with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Trade as well as the Ministry of Finance to try and ensure that we address those issues; it is important that your work succeeds.
“It is very important because, firstly, there is need for this country to generate more revenue; there is the need to see if we can expand the Nigeria fleet, the work and the cargoes that they carry. We will be saving ourselves foreign exchange and we would be able to generate funds in foreign exchange as well. So it is very important to create an expansion for Nigerian fleet.
“We would also be creating jobs for Nigerians. When we expand the fleet we would also be expanding our transport infrastructure. You can be sure of our strong active support from this ministry,” he said.
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