According to the Executive Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello, over $9.08bn was paid as freight for dry and wet cargoes to foreign ship owners in 2015 due to the absence of Nigerian-owned fleet plying the international route.
Bello disclosed this when members of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, in Abuja.
The NSC boss said the trend had been recurring over the years till date, adding that in 2016, over $7.55bn was estimated as being lost to foreign shipping firms.
According to him, $8.60bn was freight opportunity loss from import and export of dry and wet cargoes in 2017.
“As a result of this, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, through the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, set up a committee for the Nigerian fleet implementation,” Bello said.
He stated that the committee was to examine the possibility of using existing shipping companies to run a Nigerian fleet and provide guidelines on procedures of establishing a shipping firm.
Bello noted that for the government to realise its programme, an environment that was conducive for business backed by strong political will with incentives to operators had to be in place.
He said the Ministry of Budget and National Planning played an important role in fiscal policy direction of the government.
Udoma said his ministry would work with relevant agencies to resolve the issues and support the committee fully.
He stated, “We will work with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment as well as the Ministry of Finance to try and ensure that we address those issues. It is important that your work succeeds.
“It is very important because, firstly, there is a need for this country to generate more revenue; there is the need to see if we can expand the Nigeria fleet, the work and the cargoes that they carry.”
Udoma added, “We will be saving ourselves foreign exchange and we will be able to generate funds in foreign exchange as well. So, it is very important to create an expansion for Nigerian fleet.
“We will also be creating jobs for Nigerians. When we expand the fleet, we will also be expanding our transport infrastructure; you can be sure of our strong active support from this ministry.”