The president of Nigeria Indigenous Ship Owners Association (NISA), Mr Aminu Umar, said the nation was losing 700 million dollars monthly (N137.9 billion) to dominance of crude oil shipment by foreign ship owners.
Umar made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos on the sideline of the Annual General Meeting of the association. He urged the Federal Government to grant indigenous shipowners between 10 to 20 per cent allocation in lifting crude oil.
The shipowner said that Nigeria was losing a huge amount of money due to the fact that the foreign shipowners had dominated the transportation of crude oil. “Almost 70 to 77 crude oil vessels load oil monthly out of Nigeria.
“The foreign shipowners do not employ Nigerians and they do not pay tax. “What we are telling the Federal Government is to give us the support so that we can take at least 10 per cent of the crude oil vessels operating in Nigerian waters,“ Umar told NAN.
He said that if government could give indigenous shipowners 10 per cent allocation to lift crude oil, they would create jobs for the teeming youths and would retain the proceeds in the nation’s banks.
Umar said that indigenous shipowners would also pay tax which would assist the government in its responsibilities. He said that the association was ready to partner with the government to check the shortcomings in crude oil trade.
Umar noted that there was zero participation by indigenous shipowners in transportation of crude oil. The shipowner said that government’s policy had not been supporting indigenous ship owner.
He urged government to give indigenous shipowners maximum support and to also create a conducive environment for them to excel. Umar said that the recent changes in leadership of the maritime sector had slowed the association down in arranging meetings with both the minister of transportation and heads of maritime agencies.
He said that the association would like to partner with government for proper understanding of the maritime industry as an alternative to foreign exchange challenge confronting the nation. Umar said that freight earnings through the maritime industry could be an alternative source of revenue, if government could grant at least 10 per cent of indigenous ship owners the licence to lift crude oil.