A maritime expert, John Egesi yesterday urged the Federal Government to evolve strategies to boost exports to give the nation`s maritime industry the necessary competitive advantage.
Egesi, a former Director-General of the defunct National Maritime Authority (NMA), gave the advice during a chat with newsmen in Lagos.
He said the nation’s over-dependence on importation had adversely affected the maritime industry as it had put the control of the industry in the hands of foreign operators.
He said, “Nigeria has not had that competitive edge in the maritime industry because the country is still largely dependent on imports and exports very little.
“The situation has ensured that foreign owned vessels and what have you, dominate the local maritime space at the expense of local operators.
“Even, if we have all the vessels with a national shipping line. Where are the goods to export?
“The few ones that we produce, how competitive are they?
“The government should initiate plans for the nation`s export capacity, not only to increase the country’s earnings but to also increase the tempo of activities of the maritime sector.”
Egesi urged the government to provide a more enabling environment for the manufacturing sector to boost its capacity to produce exportable products. He also advised the government to set the right standards for Nigeria`s exports to ensure that they were acceptable to foreign markets.
Egesi expressed concern about the poor human capacity in the maritime industry and stressed the need to improve human capital development to optimally harness the enormous potential of the sector.
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