Contrary to claims that lack of capacity was responsible for none involvement of Nigerian shipping firms in the lifting of the nation’s crude oil, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, has attributed it to lack of opportunities.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard Maritime Report in Lagos, Bello explained that rather than lack of ability, the problem is lack of faith in the ability already existing in the local firms.
He stated that the Federal Government, through the committee on establishment of national fleet, is working to resolve the problem, especially with the coming on stream of the national fleet soon.
Bello, who also doubles as the chairman of the committee, pointed out that though it is a five-year project, it has gotten the pioneer status already.
He stated: “What has been happening is lack of faith in our ability. People say we don’t have capacity, what we don’t have is opportunity.
National carrier project is going on, it’s a five-year project. We have gotten the pioneer status for tax exemption. We are looking for the conditions that make it impossible to have national carrier removed first.
“We are working with the National Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and nobody is going to rush us because that is why the others fail.
“You cannot have an advanced operating climate without the private sector, the private sector must be incentivized for them to come in because this is not a government project. Government will not put a kobo in this project. YR
“Government must look at the laws, look at the policies and change them. For example, we should have access to carrying our crude oil and it should be on Cost, Insurance and Freight, CIF, instead of Free on Board, FOB.
“It will not be easy but we have supporters like the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, NCDMB and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; that is for the first time giving indigenous operators the capacity to lift,” he noted.