The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has stressed the need for Nigerian cargoes to be freighted by the nationals to promote indigenous participation in maritime space, diversification and increase in the international shipping trade.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA Director-General, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the NIMASA special day at the 15th Abuja International Trade Fair which had its theme as, “Trade and Commerce Beyond Borders”.
Jamoh, represented by Mr Momoh Alhassan, Head, Shipping Promotions Unit, spoke on “Investment Opportunities for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Nigerian Blue Economy.
He said that for trade and commerce beyond borders to be achieved, there must be Cargo and Shipping industry.
“Nigeria has cargoes and these cargoes should be carried by Nigerians to promote indigenous participation in the maritime space.
“It will further promote diversification and increase in international shipping trade, such as the exportation of available products which when we utilise the capability in the country, will reduce importation of goods and services.
“Conserve foreign exchange and curtail capital flight which will contribute to GDP growth and economic stability,” he said.
The D-G explained that the National Shipping Policy, established under decree 10, 1987 stipulated that Nigerians should have a right of freight.
He noted that the right of freight must be up to 50 per cent of all dry cargo originating from international commercial ventures of local, state and the Federal Governments.
He said section 37, sub-section six, of the act, also stipulated that the agency would determine an efficient strategy for the participation of national carriers in the carriage of crude and petroleum products to and fro Nigeria.
He further said that the Nigeria Content Development Act of 2010, was also aimed at ensuring that a substantial proportion of activities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry was domiciled within the country.
“This covers both upstream and downstream sectors of the sector.
“These acts and policies that are favourable to indigenous players on the oil and gas sector shall be replicated in other sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals which have huge demand potential in global trade,” he added.
He reiterated NIMASA’s commitment through its 2007 act in promoting the development of indigenous commercial shipping in the international and coastal shipping trade.
The NIMASA boss highlighted vast opportunities availed by maritime industry especially the Blue economy to MSMEs and other interested stakeholders in exploiting vast maritime potentials.
He said if the sector was well harnessed, income would accrue to small businesses in local and foreign currency, thereby collectively boosting Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The 15th Abuja International Trade Fair which is expected to end on Friday 4th, December, featured indoors exhibitions and virtual at Abuja Trade and Convention Centre.