By Ajibola Abayomi,
January 25, 2019
The Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Staff Association has identified unstable government policy as one of the key factors militating against the growth of Nigeria shipping sector.
Comrade Matthew Alalade, an engineer and National President of the association made the comment during an exclusive chart with TheLead Online at his office in Lagos.
According to him, the shipping industry was laid back because of series of unfriendly policies scaring away investors.
“To start with, the charges by the government not friendly, most of the investors have been taking their monies to the neighbouring countries. The shipping companies prefer to go to Ghana and Ivory cost to transact business and repair their ships, yet government is just watching.
“The seafarers are not getting adequate training. The minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi did promise that the nation was going to acquire vessels when he assumed office, that has not been done till now.
“NIMASA kept operating without consultation even though the agency was obeying government order but what is the sense in spending huge dollar on seafarers training with a foreign shipping company when if we acquire a vessel our people will be trained and employed?
Alalade also lamented the state of infrastructure in the country which he noted was frustrating shipping business saying “our roads are bad. The solution is to work on proper intermodal transport system if we want to achieve success” he said.
Adding his voice to the concern raised by Merchant Navy president, the Secretary General of the association, Comrade Julius P.I Efokpor said that the ease of doing business in Nigeria was not working as expected.
“The environment is just too difficult. Government must improve on the facilities and ensure that things are done in the right way. It may interest you to know that Nigeria has been removed from the shipping white list meaning that our seafarers cannot operate beyond Nigeria’s shores no matter how qualified they are.
“Since Peterside Dakuku came on board as NIMASA boss, he has not brought one single vessel on board. The Carbotage Vessel Fund has no date of disbursement, however sharing of money not even the solution if not the commitment to get things done by the government. If Ghana and Benin republic can get organised, our own government should wake up
“Politicians can make statements but they still go back to their masters to clarify their ideas. International shipping agencies have delisted Nigeria from the white paper because they felt our shipping sector is not up to date. Something must be done” he advised.