The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said Nigeria is determined to promote and increase indigenous participation in the shipping business in Nigeria. He revealed this while speaking with the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee in Abuja.
Udoma noted that increased indigenous participation in the maritime business would help in realising the country’s drive to diversify the economy, a major aspect of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The minister also revealed that aside from the fiscal incentives requested from government, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning was willing to provide any other necessary support to enable the committee succeed in its efforts to reposition the indigenous maritime sector and make it globally competitive.
To encourage and promote private sector participation in the maritime business, the Fleet Implementation Committee was set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Udoma acknowledged the importance of the Maritime sector to economic growth by pointing out the sector’s ability to create wealth, provide jobs, generate foreign exchange and develop the Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure.
Alhaji Bello, the Chairman of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee noted that in spite of the country’s vast coastline and abundant natural resources, Nigeria’s huge maritime potentials was yet to be fully explored for the benefit of the people.
Bello explained that given the volume of cargoes that enter and leave Nigerian ports every year, the country loses a lot of revenue as a result of its insignificant participation in the carriage of cargo to and from the ports.
He said “this gives rise to huge outflow of financial resources in terms of freight paid by Nigerians to foreign ship operators and increasing the GDP and economic well-being of their home countries”.