Chamber of Shipping embarks on local content enforcement
• Pursues disbursement of accumulated cabotage fund
As part of efforts to correct the imbalances in local participation in the country, the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), has vowed to engage the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and other relevant government agencies to stage a sustained advocacy to address the challenges mitigating local content enforcement.
The newly elected President of NCS, Andrew Isichei, stated this during the inauguration of the Governing Council, and his investiture as the sixth president of the body.
Records showed that 85 per cent of vessels operating in the Nigerian market are owned by foreigners, and a reasonable quantum of the balance 15 per cent is also owned by foreign interests, who merely incorporated their companies in Nigeria and crew and staff are mainly foreign-dominated.
Against this backdrop, Isichei noted that plans are underway to borrow a leaf from the Angolan model of local content enforcement to tackle the issue of unemployment especially for Nigerian seafarers are who are yet to garner freight experiences onboard vessels.
Disclosing the focus and roadmap for the chamber, he promised to ensure full implementation of the Cabotage Act, adding that the accumulated Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), would be deployed and disbursed to serious minded practitioners.
Isichei said: “On the issue of ship finance, businesses come but if you do have ship you cannot do that. Without fund we cannot afford ship, we have the CVFF accumulating and not being deployed, we will engage, talk and push to see how these monies that have accumulated will be disbursed to very serious minded practitioners. Just like cabotage, the issue is not just penalising and making money. The objective is not to make money; the objective is for it to impact positively, for there to be engagement and skill. These are the issues we need to deal with”.
No matter the mistakes that have been made in the past on the usage on disbursement of the funds, there is a time we need to drop the past behind and move forward. There is a lot to be done.”
He further said: “There are several conventions and policies, which though have been ratified but are not been domesticated or fully implemented by Nigeria.
In his valedictory speech, the outgone President of the NCS, Adebayo Sarumi, who commended the Governing Council in bringing in expertise to solving issues in the shipping trade, called on relevant government agencies and those in shipping business to support the chamber and also take advantage of all it has to offer.
Corroborating Isichei’s quest for the country to own training vessels for cadets, Vice President of the NCS, Tijani Ramalan, told the gathering that the high cost of training over 2000 seafarers overseas by NIMASA is quite enormous.