‘Private sector critical to proposed new national shipping line project’
Private sector’s involvement is critical to the proposed national shipping line, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has said.Speaking at a maritime technical summit organised by the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) in Lagos, the Minister assured maritime stakeholders that he would not use the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to float a national carrier.
The Minister emphasised need for a performance audit of agencies in the sector to ascertain what the challenges are with a view to addressing them with input from relevant experts.
Explaining further, the minister said: “I am determined to ensure that we get a new carrier and I will not disburse Cabotage fund for that. I will be meeting with some experts and ship owners to make decision on establishing the national carrier. We will also create a group that will move it forward”.
According to the Minister, the performance audit “will tell you how to move the industry forward. It wills makes you know what the problems are and make possible suggestions on how to move forward. Even when the performance audit is over, I will not make those decisions alone, I will try and meet experts in the industry and we will share these views with them.”
The Minister also spoke on the need to upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron to strengthen its capacity to produce skilled manpower for the sector.
In his welcome address, President of AMES, Charles Uwadia called for a holistic review of the maritime sector’s human capacity development.
He explained that decline in standard, quality and profitability of the ships of Nigerian flag is as a result of their alleged poor technical standards occasioned by the owner’s reluctance to comply with national and international standards and regulations.
In his presentation, former Alternate Permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Olu Akinsoji, an engineer, said individuals with specialised knowledge especially in human capacity development are required to ensure policy formulation and implementation to move the sector forward.
He said: “There is deficit of human capacity development which must be looked into before establishing a new national carrier. We cannot build a nation if we don’t have the men to do it and in the maritime industry, it is not everybody that can do everything. If you want to do anything that is relevant to the growth of the industry, you need to be specially trained.
Also in his presentation at the event attended by former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, founder, Indigenous Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, Senator Olorunimbe Mamowora, Chairman, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Greg Ogbeifun, among others, a resource person, Emmanuel Ilori, an engineer, stressed need for Nigeria to refocus, adding that Nigeria by now, based on established tonnage, should be on category ‘B’.
He said: “We should be on the Category ‘B’ of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council. Nigeria
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