Part of the move towards local influence in the Nigerian and West African shipping market was the creation of theNigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), which was set up in 1959 with the Federal Government of Nigeria owning 51%, Elder Dempster 33% and Palm Line owned 16%.
In September 1961, the shipping line became a national carrier with ownership assigned to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Three (3) vessels were owned in the beginning and by 1964, NNSL’s vessel feet had increased to 16 but when the vessels were getting old, the government ordered 19 ones in 1977. The vessels were eventually sold off as NNSL struggled to stay afloat in the face of poor management, corruption and obsolesce leading to mounting debts. It was eventually liquidated by the government of late Gen. SanniAbacha in 1995.
However, the Buhari-led Federal Government has expressed its desire to refloat the national carrier. OluwatoyinAmao went to town to get the views of ordinary Nigerians on this fresh move.
In my own opinion, I think it’s a very good initiative as it will improve the business of the maritime industry, as well as the income accruable to the federal account. But all the same, there are some measures the federal government need to put in place. They should make it privately controlled, not government owned as it was done in the past where politicians got involved and negatively influence every of their activities. And also, NNSL will help create employment opportunities but the problem is that we don’t have trained man power in the sector, experts abroad need to be invited to train and retrain Nigerians so that the vision of creating employment can be achieved at the long run.
I equally hope, the government (politicians in particular) will not have any influence whatsoever in the industry. It should be privatised; let the government have larger stake and invite expert abroad to equally invest in it
Yes it will, most countries have attained greatness by utilising the available resources in their maritime environment. Especially in the oil and gas sector, it will be public private partnership and jobs will be provided to the citizens.
I think the proposed establishment of NNSL will boost the maritime sector, we have had shipping lines in the past with over 20 vessels but like all things in Nigeria, it was mismanaged and the company went defunct in 1995. Since then, we had no single vessel and we are an oil producing state. We therefore depend heavily on foreign vessels to move our crude to the outside world.
From the report I read about NNSL when I first heard about it, it is estimated that Nigeria lose over $2billion annually to this practice of relying on foreign cargoes. If we have our own shipping lines, bulk of the money will come into developing the sector and also boost our economy via increment in our gross domestic product (GDP).
This is just a basic avenue to spend our money unjustifiably. The question is, would it be properly monitored, if yes. Would it be properly managed, if properly managed, would it be invested, if properly invested, it would be stolen at the end of it all.
At the beginning, it would be of benefits because it would create a bit of employment and train individuals interested but it won’t last the test of time.
If its well implemented, then sure it will work well for the maritime sector. But we know in Nigeria, we are full of policies and plans without execution.
No. The Federal Government cannot run shipping lines but I think the government can participate in it. They can do this by only making recommendations to NNSL.
Yes it would, there will be more patronage from neighbouring seaports by making business activities more promising. Establishing a Nigerian National Shipping Line would be more efficient as transportation of goods would be easier, for example: a container ship could convey over a 100,000 loads of cargo in a single voyage which I think would improve the maritime sector. It would facilitate inter-national trade among countries, thereby allowing them to buy and sell goods which I think is a plus to the maritime sector.
Also, establishing NNSL would create job opportunities for its citizens and also it will improve the country’s balance of payments position by enhancing the earnings and conservation of foreign exchange which is likely to improve the sector.
Yes it will. When NNSL was initially established, it was misused, mismanaged and mishandled and that made it a running loss. Is the revenue that is going to be used to run the company and in turn generate more revenue for itself and the country at large. It will create jobs and as well help the nation back on its feet.
I think it’s an awesome idea, if it’s not for selfish use but the true need for its establishment.
It is a two-way affair, it is either it improves the shipping line or it aggravates its present status. Meaning, it will positively improve the shipping line if those in charge of the proposed establishment will sincerely incorporate into their modus operandi policies that will be enterprise-friendly for the stakeholders in the maritime industry and gainfully and actively involve law enforcement agencies for the enforcement of certain regulations guiding the industry.
Also, it will aggravate the present condition of the shipping line business if the aim of the government is to witch-hunt some ‘powerful’ elements in the maritime business at the expense of the revenue being presently generated by the Federal Government through maritime business.
Yes it will. A lot of questions run in my mind; like will the proposed NNSL be independent? What impact will the body partake in the country’s present economic instability? If these key areas are taken care of, I believe the body will deliver accurately. However, I see the creation of NNSL as been timely. It will not only shoulder the responsibility of the marine day to day activities, but will also serve as a transparent creation of wealth to the federal government and unemployment reduction. Finally the proposed shipping line should bridge the gap of delivery and properly checked by the Ministry of Transportation in the execution of its duties. The possible loopholes of the defunct Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should be highlighted and strategies be worked out in correcting the problems; staff welfares, duties implementation, transparency and accountability (the single Treasury Account will aid this).
I see the proposed shipping line as a welcome establishment with this present administration of ‘change’.
Instead of thinking of another national carrier, the Federal Government should saddle itself with the performance audit of all the agencies in the sector — the Maritime Academy of Nigeria at Oron, AkwaIbom State, NPA, NIMASA and the profitability of ships with the Nigerian flag. The outcome is bound to be a brutal reminder that national shipping line at this time, even as a joint venture with the private sector, is decidedly, a misadventure.
Yes it will. NNSL will help in logistic services in the maritime sector also create jobs, it will serve as a source of revenue for the Federal Government, improving our dwindling national purse and it will also increase competition in the sector, leading to better service delivery by the shipping line.In addition, it will help the sector because it will provide an avenue for the training of the sea cadets and the Federal Government should see that is well managed and handled by the right channels.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.