By Ajibola Abayomi,
March 12, 2018.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has expressed willingness to partner with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to refloat a National Shipping Line.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who made this known when he played host to the Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh at the headquarters of the Agency in Lagos today stated that shipping to an extent defines the growth trajectory of any nation especially as it relates to seaborne commerce.
The DG said the greatest asset in the maritime space was the vessel itself adding that if there were no vessels, one would not be a major player.“You can only be a major player in name, but in reality you will not get maximum benefit from trade” he added.
Peterside said that the only way to guarantee the efficiency and effectiveness of shipping, which would add value to the economy, was through the involvement of the private sector.
He noted that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had initiated a process whereby people from the private sector would pull resources together to float a National Fleet, facilitated by the Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA, adding that the process which would enhance the Nigerian Flag was ongoing.
The NIMASA boss stated that the Ministry appointed a National Fleet Implementation Committee, headed by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, who was also working closely to with the Agency.
“The emphasis of the Federal Ministry of Transportation is to drive a process where we will refloat the National Fleet, this time with the core investors that will own 49 per cent of the shares, whereas, Nigerian Ship Owners will own 51 per cent of the shares of the firm and the firm will also be given the National Career Status. We are looking at different models, hence the importance of this engagement, so that we can review what has happened over time and choose the best model”, the DG Said.
The Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, commended the strides of Peterside’s led Management of NIMASA in re positioning the maritime sector.
He said that Bureau of Public Enterprises was the agency of government responsible for sector reforms and enterprise reforms of the Federal Government.
Okoh noted that businesses were better managed by the private sector and that government had very little to do in business apart from creating an enabling environment.
The BPE according to him was willing to partner NIMASA in the quest to revive the National Unity Line in collaboration with the private sector.
“We have looked at the Nigerian Unity Line and the only tangible asset they have is operating license. The license confers on the enterprise certain privileges, deriving from the Cabotage Act and also from the Local Content policy. This can be the foundation for the building block of a virile shipping business in Nigeria”, he said.