ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Budget & National Planning Report) – The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma (Senator) has informed the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee that the Nigerian Government is determined to promote and increase indigenous participation in the shipping business in Nigeria.
The Minister who gave the indication recently in Abuja while receiving the Committee members in his office said that the government will provide the necessary support to enable the Committee carry out its mandate. He disclosed that the effort is geared towards engendering increased indigenous participation in the maritime business with the resolve to realize the country’s diversification drive, which is a major thrust of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The Minister assured that apart from the fiscal incentives requested from Government, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning is 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. Adding, the Fleet Implementation Committee was set up by the Federal Government primarily to encourage and promote private sector participation in the maritime business and by so doing, help in the diversification of the economy.
Udo Udoma acknowledged the importance of the Maritime Sector to the growth of businesses and the economy, noting that apart from generating revenues for the Government, it also has the potential of creating wealth, providing jobs, generating foreign exchange as well as developing the country’s transportation infrastructure. While commending the Committee members for the work they are doing, the Minister assured that the Government is committed to growing the size of the indigenous fleet with appropriate incentives.
The Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Bello in his remarks told the Minister that maritime transportation is a critical sector in the economy of several countries, regretting that with its vast coastline and abundant natural resources, Nigeria’s huge maritime potentials are yet to be fully explored for the benefit of the people. He explained that given the volume of cargoes that enter and leave Nigerian ports annually, the opportunity loss to Nigeria is huge because of Nigeria’s insignificant participation in the carriage of cargo to and from the ports.
“This gives rise to huge outflow of financial resources in terms of freight paid by Nigerians to foreign ship operators, thus increasing the GDP and economic well-being of their home countries,” he pointed.
The Committee consequently solicited Government’s support to ensure that fleet development with requisite incentives becomes the focus of implementation priority in the Government transport infrastructure programme.