THE STATE OF NIGERIAS MARITIME INDUSTRY Part 2
The maritime industry can be aptly described as an under tapped heap of treasure with great potentialities. In one sentence, it is a gold mine begging for optimum utilization. The above assertion becomes clearer when one looks at the enormous impact maritime industries in first and second world countries had made, and continue to make, in the sum total of their economic growth, in terms of revenue generation, employment creation, facilitation of global exchange and its overall contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of these advanced nations.
A probe of the abundant maritime resources in Nigeria, expressed in the vast territorial waters under the nation’s sovereign jurisdiction brings to the fore the fact that nature hands Nigeria the role of a bustling maritime hub, at least, in Sub-Saharan Africa. The question now is: is the maritime industry in Nigeria fully developed? The answer is not farfetched. A further look at the industry shows that not too many substantial achievements have been made. This does not deny that notable positive changes have been recorded. But compared with what obtains in climes with fully developed maritime industry, the pace of the growth of our maritime is just at the speed of the snail.
A visit to our ports and other maritime facilities shows this. The numerous obsolete and anachronistic maritime infrastructure that are obviously out of tune with modernity, the congestion of Lagos ports and the attendant abandonment of ports in other coastal states, unnecessary politicization, and the maritime industry’s share of the habitual neglect of public enterprises by government, all combine to reinforce the continuous stagnation of the industry. The problem of poor funding is not also left out, considering the fact that the maritime industry is capital intensive. Though different administrations have come up with policies without actual implementation. For instance The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).The fund was established under the cabotage and inland shipping (Cabotage Act 2003).It is a 2% contributory fund by ship owners from contracts and it is intended to provide finance to operators to maintain and purchase new vessels. Recent findings reveal that this fund has been used over time to develop maritime facilities in universities, instead of being disbursed to the intended recipients.
For the Nigerian maritime industry to be fully efficient and productive, efforts must be made to reposition it for optimum productivity. There must be adequate infrastructure. It is no longer a luxury for operations of a 21st century maritime industry to be fully automated. It is said that the contribution of the maritime industry to the GDP is not officially captured by NBS because about 90% of vessels entering Nigerian ports are foreign, thus repatriating profit home, thereby making it difficult to measure the revenue contribution of indigenous ship owners. A direct solution to this would be the full implementation of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund.Besides this, government over time has proven to be bad business manager (through several failed public enterprises) and most as a matter of urgency relinquish all controls over the maritime industry by the full privatization of the sector.
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Posted: July 06, 2020 06:43 am