FG urged to work toward exportation of refined crude oil

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LAGOS – Mr Charles Okorefe, Chief Executive Officer of Kamany Marine Services Ltd, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to work toward refining crude oil for export, to boost the nation’s economy.
Okorefe, who made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said that exportation of refined oil would add value to the nation’s economy.
“Singapore, a nation of not more than N4 million people has about 53 refineries. They don’t have crude oil.
“We are happy basing our budget on crude oil but the benchmark has dropped and when it drops, the value will drop,“ Okorefe said.
He said that most developed nations usually based their budgets on taxation, adding that Nigerians should not be too dependent on crude oil.
“Nigeria should change the oil trade terms from Free on Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF). That is the only way we can have value for what we are producing,“ he said.
Okorefe suggested the revival of the national carrier, which could be used for training of cadets and for commercial purposes, in order to expose the cadets to sea-time training.
He urged the Federal Government to invest more in the training the seafarers.
Okerefe said that the seafarers could both be operating under the cabotage regime and could also go abroad to work and generate revenue for the nation.
“It is estimated that about five to six billion dollars was repatriated by seafarers of the Philippines alone and their population is about 76 million people, less than half of the Nigerian population.
“This area has to be looked into because the industry is moving forward and government needs to empower vocational trainees such as carpenters and welders,’’ he said.
Okorefe said that Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh were specialists in ship building and ship demolition, for sale to ship builders in different countries.
The maritime practitioner said that this would create more job opportunities for the youth in the country.
He, however, said that despite the fact that Nigeria controlled 75 per cent of the economy of West and Central Africa, it still lacked deep seaports.
Okorefe said Nigeria had a deep seaport at Onne, near Port Harcourt but noted that the creeks and the draught do not qualify it to be a deep seaport.
He said, “if Nigeria becomes the hub, it would assist in transporting goods to other nations.’’
Okorefe urged maritime reporters to engage more in advocacy than reporting, adding that most maritime reporters had more information than the stakeholders in the industry.
He described journalists as agenda-setters and urged them to put the government on its toes, to enhance the development of the maritime industry. (NAN)

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