The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said that Nigerians would be able to lift the country’s crude oil for export immediately the national fleet come into operation.
Peterside, who stated this at a breakfast meeting with the media on the sidelines of the ongoing Norway Shipping Conference and Exhibition in Oslo, Norway, said such an outcome would end the capital flight, associated with the present arrangement where Nigeria sells its oil on Free On Board (FOB) basis to customers and would also lead to employment creation.
The NIMASA boss said the new national fleet would be owned 49 per cent by a technical partner and the balance of 51 per cent by Nigerian investors.
According to the plan, the Nigerian investors would hold equity in lots, so there will be no domineering shareholder, adding that the planned national fleet would be private sector- led for sustainability and profitability.
The national fleet is part of the country’s new strategic direction on the blue economy, which is designed to tap its maritime potential. However, he invited local and foreign investors who are interested in the project to partner with the country.
The opportunity in crude freight and right of first refusal to lift cargo generated by all tiers of government are just some of the many opportunities in the sector. He said the country was also taking its maritime security seriously and has invested in the acquisition of security assets to boost the policing of its waters.
These assets include patrol boats, special mission aircraft, helicopters , unmanned air vessels and special mission ships. He noted that the assets, acquired under the ‘Deep Blue Project’, which he calls a homeland security solution, would be operational by September with a standing specially trained intervention strike force.
Peterside called on investors to tap into the rich potential of the maritime sector in Nigeria, saying the government has incentivised the sector with offers of tax holidays and institutional support.
“Nigeria”, he reminded his audience, “is an investment friendly environment with comprehensive maritime security, a robust financial sector and six port complexes and numerous terminals. The country accounts for 70 per cent of seaborne trade into west and central Africa and is endowed with a skilled workforce and the world’s ninth largest hydrocarbon deposits.
He said the country is also focusing on implementing reforms to enhance her ease of doing business.