The Director General, of  Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has said that 70% of Nigerian crude oil are transported by Ships to the international markets and called for synergy between Local Content Act 2010 and Cabotage Act 2003 in order to boost shipping logistics in Nigeria.
Peterside made the call during a one-day seminar organised by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) with the theme: “Local Content Development in Shipping,  Oil and Gas Logistics Operations in Nigeria” on in Lagos.
The director general, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Shipping Development in NIMASA,  Mrs Anna Akpan, said that shipping had always been of strategic importance to the oil and gas industry.
According to him, over 70% of all crude oil production are transported by ships.
“More oil production activities are being carried out offshore. This shows that the oil industry relies heavily on maritime industry for its smooth operations.
“In Nigeria, the maritime industry shares not only common business interests with the oil and gas sector but also common challenges.
“The most pronounced of these challenges is foreign domination. It is a known fact today, that in spite of the huge activities and revenue generated by these two industries, their impact in terms of employment and generation of economic growth had been so low.
“For example,  the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy  accounts for almost 90 per cet of the foreign earnings for the country but less than 20 per cent contribution to Gross Domestic Product and five per cent of total employment which is a misnomer.
“The situation in the maritime industry is not different. Nigeria ranked the seventh largest oil producer in the world and it is only oil- producing country that does not carry a drop of its crude,” Peterside said.
He further explained that statistics showed that the country generated an estimated annual cargo throughput of N150 million onnes with  freight earnings in excess of $5 billion in her international trade transactions.
Peterside said that 95% of the income was earned by foreigners with the job deprivation to the country.
He said that it was necessary for the two implementing agencies of the Local content Act and Cabotage Act to identify areas of common interests and design a strategy for an effective implementation for the benefit of the country.
The director general said that NIMASA had  examined the provisions of the Local Content Act  and came up with its implementation within the ambit of Cabotage as related to maritime activities.
The Corporate Communication and Zonal Coordinator, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board  (NCDMB), Dr Ginah Ginah, said many pipelines were built over 50 years ago which needed to be replaced as a matter of urgency.
According to him,  the NCDMB had handed over N200 billion to the Bank of Industry to enable indigenous operators to access loan at 8 per cent interest.
“We have trained  500,000 Nigerians on Local Content developments but there was no vacancy to enable them to operate.
“There is need to improve low functional steel sector to solve the immediate problem of the oil and gas sector in the country,” Ginah said.
In his goodwill message, the Governor of Edo State,  Mr Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by the Chairman, Waterways Oil and Gas Association of Nigerian  (WAGMAN), Capt.Tony Vevakpor, said that the Gelegele Port is in process.
Vevakpor said that dredging is ongoing as well as construction of modular refineries to decongest Lagos ports.
In his welcome address,  the President of MARAN,  Mr Anya Njoku, said that shipping  operations in Nigeria were problematic sector in view of the complexities associated with operations in shipping,  oil and gas operational logistics.
According to him,  it is important for Nigerians to take over operations in these sub-sectors to make gains as these sector were lucrative if properly administered..
“By so doing, we demand that speakers should deliver pratical and achievable experience as this will land us half way to the moon, since there is no end to knowledge,” he said.
Njoku urged members of the armed forces including Navy,  Army, Police and Customs, to work in line with the constitutional provisions and the standard set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as other international agencies.
“Customs should also work with institutions that have enacted conventions and regulations on how to conduct smooth commercial shipping and operatoonal logistics and ensuring good conducts in all ramification to achieve the set goal in the sub-sector,” Njoku said.

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