Lagos – The president, Shipowner Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr Greg Ogbeifun, on Saturday urged the Federal Government to support indigenous shipowners to procure ships and train cadets on sea time experience.
Ogbeifun made the plea in Lagos at the 12th Anniversary of Frontline Media International.
He spoke on the topic: “Taking Nigeria’s Economy to Its Dream Height: Shipping Sector In Perspective.’’
The ship owner said that if Nigerian shipowners were given the opportunity, “they would train more cadets and before you know it, the shipowners would create more jobs for the teeming youths’’.
Ogbeifun, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, Starz Marine and Engineering Ltd, said that the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), an initiative of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was a good idea.
“Instead of government providing ships for the training of cadets on sea time experience, NIMASA was busy awarding sea time training contracts to those who did not have anything to do with shipping.
“Some of the contractors came to my office for negotiation but they could not pay for the training
“My company have trained 13 cadets on sea time training and got certificate of competency,’’ he said.
Ogbeifun, urged indigenous shipowners who had ships to endeavour to train cadets on sea time experience to complement government’s effort
The SOAN boss said that government was losing 500 million dollars (N98.5 billion) yearly on ships being repaired outside the country.
He said that there was need for Nigerian ship owners to start patronising Nigerian dockyards rather than taking ships out of the country for repair.
Ogbeifun, however, urged the Federal Government to revive the shipyards to generate more revenue.
In his opening remark, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Frontline Media International, Prof. Peter Ebigbo, said erratic power supply had weakened industrial growth and chased away investors to neighbouring communities.
“If we must create jobs for our teeming graduates that are produced from our universities and polytechnic every year, this is time for us to brainstorm.
“Embark on soul-searching and come out as experts in various fields wih ideas that can take this nation to the ideal pedestal,’’ Ebigbo said.
He said that there was no doubt that Nigerian economy was not in good shape, adding that there was need for urgent exploitation of all natural endowments available in Nigeria to make economy robust.
Also speaking, a former President, Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Umar Jimoh, said the absence of technocrats at the government shipyard sector was responsible for the collapse of the government dockyard.
Jimoh, urged government to put technocrats in all sectors of the economy for proper administration.
He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for negotiating with the China Government on how Nigerian currency could appreciate.
Also speaking, the President, Shippers’ Association Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said more than 500 vessels came to Nigeria in 2015 and none of the ships was owned by Nigerians.
“If Nigerians are given the license to own ships, this would have solved the poverty problem in the county because the ship owners will create job as long as the vessels are in operation.
“We are training to bring joint investor into the country to enable ship owners to get more ships to trade with,’’ Nicol said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the some maritime operators were given awards based on their transparent operations in the maritime industry,
The Awardees were: Mrs Jean Chiazor-Anishere, Mr Greg Ogbeifun, Mr Jonathan Nicol, Mr Steve Okonmah, Mr Usman Bello, Mr Umar Jimoh and Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu.
Other awards were given to: Mrs Maria Ebigbo, Chief Boniface Aniebonam, Deputy Comptroller (DC) Haruna Danlami, DC Addullahi Idris and Dean, Faculty Science, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Ndukwu Chinyem. (NAN)