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Transport Minister Mu’azu Jaji Sambo received an interim report on the need to establish a strong and sustainable national fleet by the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee.
On receiving the report at the ministry, in Abuja, the minister said that if Nigeria could manage its resources effectively, it would not depend on the oil sector.
“Nigeria is a maritime country. If Nigeria pulls itself together, the country will have nothing more to do to seek money from the oil sector as a contribution to the country’s GDP,” he said.
Explaining how the project can be done immediately, he said, “I don’t know if during the Committee’s consultations with other stakeholders you were able to have conversations with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) because , if NNPC , can provide 100% support, this case can be closed in two months,”
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council and Chairman of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC), Emmanuel Jime, said the committee was constituted by the former Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to implement the recommendations of the report of a previous ministerial committee on the modalities for the establishment of a Nigerian fleet.
Jime, who was represented by Sea Transport Group Managing Director and NFIC member Umar Aminu, said the initiative was a way of addressing Nigerians’ non-participation in the transport of Nigerian international cargo and the loss of freight revenue, jobs and other benefits that would otherwise have benefited the country.
“During the execution of the mandate, lessons were learned and some modest achievements were recorded. These have been captured in this interim report that we are submitting today.
“The work is still ongoing and the goal of creating an enabling environment for the growth of a sustainable Nigerian fleet will be achieved in due course,” he said.
“There were challenges that hampered the rapid completion of the project as previously envisioned.
“Shipping is international and competitive in nature, and Nigeria cannot operate in isolation, hence the need for an operating environment similar to what exists elsewhere.
“This has been a major challenge for the growth of the sector in Nigeria. The review of certain trade policies, access to funds and technical/human capacity are issues that need to be resolved,” concluded Jime.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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