Greek owners to sell 40 ships to Nigeria
Part of the agreement entails acquisition of 40 vessels from a consortium of Greek shipowners for use in Nigeria cabotage trade.
The vessels will be of various classes and tonnage, and will all be delivered within the next two years.
The event, which was held in Lagos, had in attendance the Nigerian Ambassador to Greece, Lawrence Ayodele Ayodeji, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of
Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Bashir and a representative of the Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Ziakede Akpobolokemi.
Speaking on the benefits of the MoU, the factional president of NISA, Navy Captain Niyi Labinjo (Rtd) explained that the essence of the partnership between Nigerian and Greece shipowners is to create jobs for Nigerians.
Labinjo said that the ships, which will be of various classes and tonnage, would eventually belong to the indigenous ship owners within two years.
He said ‘We have signed the agreement between us and Greeks and Nigeria will acquire the 40 ships in not less than 24 months.
“NISA is providing a platform for younger and unborn generations and I wish the ships will be growing from 40 to 60 and to 100.”
“A total of 600 vessels are operating on oil and gas; and only 10 per cent belongs to Nigerians as at 2015,’’ Labinjo said.
He explained that one of the major challenges inhibiting the Cabotage regime is government’s lack of political will to fully implement it, pointing out that the waiver clause has been abused.
He said in countries where Cabotage is practiced, there is a price to pay, describing it as tonnage in line with the job to be done.
Labinjo said “Whenever a country introduces Cabotage, it wants to secure the domestic trade and there is nobody in the world except for Nigerians that will allow its domestic trade by foreigners as we have done in the last 12 years.”
He explained that the new dispensation under the President Muhammad Buhari-led administration is about blocking revenue leakages, adding that if the cabotage is well enforced, it will bring wealth for the Nigerian maritime industry and economy a whole.
He urged the Federal Government to protect domestic operators, adding that this is necessary for cabotage trade to thrive in Nigeria.
He said, “Nigeria can make a disposable income of three to seven trillion naira annually from maritime, even the oil and gas sector does not make that much when compared”.
Labinjo maintained that the maritime sector can substitute the oil and gas sector by providing over five million jobs, stressing further that people compare wrongly what maritime generate against the aviation sector.
Also speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Mohammed Bashir explained that Nigerian ship owners are gradually coming of age, pointing out that government will not relent in its effort to encourage the success of the Cabotage Act through enforcement.
Speaking on behalf of the Greek ship owners, Constantine Kokkos called on both parties involved in the partnership to cooperate in order to meet the dynamism of maritime and shipping business.