The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council Hassan Bello, has said that Nigeria is losing $1.9bn to foreign ship owners annually.
Bello, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee, disclosed this when he led members of the NFIC on a working visit to the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the spokesperson of NNPC, Kennie Obateru, the shippers’ council boss appealed to the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, to encourage subsidiaries of the oil firm to always engage indigenous shipping companies in their businesses.
He urged NNPC to grant local shipping companies the right of first refusal in crude oil lifting contracts, saying it would help grow the economy and sustain their businesses.
Bello told Kyari that the committee was set up three years ago by the Federal Ministry of Transportation with a mandate to promote Nigerian ownership of ships and vessels.
This, he said, would enable local companies take control of the shipping business which was in line with the economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.
On his part, Kyari said NNPC would support indigenous fleet owners to enjoy greater patronage and participation in the oil and gas maritime business in Nigeria.
He noted that with the scale of the corporation’s activities in the maritime sector, NNPC would get more active in the affairs of the fleet management committee with a view to strengthening the synergy between the oil firm and the private sector.