Nigeria’s economic woes will be a thing of the past if the huge resources and opportunities offered by the shipping industry is well utilised. This was the position of maritime experts and stakeholders at the just-concluded Lagos International Shipping Expo (LISE), MUYIWA LUCAS reports.
The President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung, for the umpteenth time, has described the shipping industry as the most vibrant sector that can offer solution to the nation’s economic challenges.
“The Ship Owners of this country own the key to unlock the economic prosperity of Nigeria because we know that Shipping is 90 percent of the Global trade. If there will be no shipping, they said, there won’t be shopping. So, there is a connection between Shipping and National Development and of course, controlling 90 percent of the global economy is not a joke,” he said, while declaring open the Lagos International Shipping Expo (LISE), last week.
The two-day event featured exhibition by operators in shipping and related businesses, six plenary sessions and a gala night, provided a veritable opportunity for learning and networking.
Onyung said the event afforded ship owners the chance to speak with one voice on issues about the industry that would ensure the development of indigenous capacity and improve maritime business.
Also, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, represented by the Ministry’s Director, Reform, Coordination and Service Improvement, Mrs. Grace Atiegoba, agreed that boosting indigenous ship ownership would enable the country to compete more favourably on the international scene.
On the theme: Shipping, Global Economy and National Development, Amaechi said the Federal Government was aquainted with the challenges in the industry, saying the governme is determined to tackle the challenges of the industry in spite of nancial constraints.
Amaechi, who spoke on the topic: Achieving the Objective of the Five-Year Marine Notice: Roadmap to Equip Nigeria, described shipping as a catalyst that would boost socio-economic development. He said with this capacity, it was important for the country to key into such industry to boost her economy, adding that 99 per cent of developed nations are maritime-driven.
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“Government is also eager about marine notice as it will provide important issues on safety, general guidance to shipping and marine communities,” he said, adding that the government was concerned about the non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF), poor infrastructure and poor maritime institutions in the country.
He said though these concerns were adversely affecting the industry, the government was not relenting as it keeps putting measures in place to checkmate the situation.
He listed some of these efforts by government, to include review of the Cabotage Act; manpower development and promoting Public-rivate Participation (PPP). Others are giving inland waterways the deserved attention and improving participation of indigenous shipping companies.
In a similar vein, the Minister of State for Transportation, Ms Gbemisola Saraki, also represented by President, Women in Maritime, by Hajia Bola Muse, described the sector as a backbone for global trade and economy, with the capacity to providing a hub of opportunity for trade to take place.
“The shipping industry is critical for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for meeting its challenges,” she said, adding that the jobs and livelihood of several people in the developing world, including the standard of living in the industrialised and developed world depended on shipping.