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Ship owners forge alliance to exploit industry opportunities

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Operators under the aegis of Nigeria Shipowners Association (NISA), have formed a common front to exploit the abundant opportunities inherent in the maritime sector.

Ship owners have suffered several difficulties in accessing funds and are denied some fiscal benefits that could have buoyed their operations.

The group said all is now set to change the scenario and work together make to make Nigerians have appreciable stake in the shipping business.

Speaking on the new development, a member of the steering committee, Paul Jegede, said: “The two factions created due to constitutional crisis within the association; one headed by Olaniyi Labinjo, and the other by Aminu Umar, are now fully reconciled and reverted to one indivisible entity.”

Jegede, who was supported by other members of the steering committee, Taiwo Akipelumi, and Tunji Brown, said the group would conduct a general election in the first quarter of 2020, before the expiration of their mandate.

He said: “Our coming together is very crucial. Over time, we don’t need to start reminding ourselves of what happened to us, because we were not together. The essence is to come together and see how we can improve the industry and better our businesses.

“We have to device that paradigm shift from individualism to collectivism and that how we can better our lots. We are ready to engage agencies and government establishments that are responsible for this, and I know that things will start falling into place,” he said.

Another NISA member, Peter Olorunfemi, said: “The division has made members to lose some benefits such as the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF). It is not government money, it is money contributed by ship owners, but because we were not united, the fund has not been well managed. Now we have seen all these and we are ready to make changes. We will be able to advise government better. Within the next six months things will change.”

He added: “We have met with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to find out how Nigerians are going to be lifting crude oil, but we could not achieve that for a period of four years because we were not united. We need to forge an alliance so that Nigeria can move forward. Foreigners are dominating our shipping market and when we are done, thousands of Nigerians will get job opportunities and everybody will enjoy,” he said.

He added that NISA is also looking at working together with the Shipowners as both groups have similar objectives and challenges, stating that the interest of the industry is what is paramount.


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