For sometime now, the concept of “capacity building” has become one of the popular phrases in development discourse. Often times most African Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations etc. invoke capacity problems to explain why policies fail to deliver or why aid is not generating sustainable impacts. Also reports of several local and international seminars, workshops and conferences often generate a host of capacity building recommendations in their conclusions. Capacity issues are omnipresent. It is all a reflection of our desire to leapfrog into the 21st century or rather catch up with the developed economics. However, wide spread interest in capacity building is not in any way misplaced in view of the critical need to enhance the ability of countries, local institutions and people particularly in Africa to manage development on their own in a smooth, efficient and sustainable way. Adequate capacity in terms of Building and effective development has often been described as the MISSING FACTOR OR LINK in the development of most poor countries, Nigeria inclusive. CAPACITY BUILDING In view of the significance of adequate capacity, capacity building for economic and social development is crucial, particularly in the maritime industry as a result of its NATIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS. Capacity building entails deliberate and or incidental endeavours through investment in people, institutions and practices, to enhance human abilities and institutional capabilities in the pursuit of national development. It is a PROCESS OF INCREMENTAL ACQUISITION of capabilities. The human dimension of capacity building is the process by which a nation develops and increases its human resources capabilities through the inculcation of relevant general and technical knowledge, skills and effectiveness to realize SET goals efficiency. On the other hand institutional capacity building involves the development of capacities or organizations and institutions with a view to enabling them accomplish their objectives. In a development economy context the processes of capacity building thus involve:- • Human development, especially developing new skills through education and training, strengthening of existing skills and structures, like in Maritime Academy, Oron or Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NIIT), Zaria. • Developing new structures and re-organization of existing institutional structures and processes to create a context for more efficient performance and in which skilled workers can function effectively. • Re-ordering of incentive systems for more INTENSIVE and efficient deployment of existing skills and institutions. • Evolving political leadership that understands the need for effective institutions. WHY DEVELOP CAPACITY IN THE NIGERIAN MARINE INDUSTRY? The Nigerian maritime industry encompasses all activities related to maritime or coastal movement. This includes all activities linked to coastal shipping, waterways, passenger movements, coast guards etc. The Federal Ministry of Transport largely supervises this sector. Key players in the industry cut across all sectors of the economy. Other than key maritime parastatals like NPA, NMA, NACFA, JOMALIC etc., it also includes NNPC, Oil Exploration and Producing Companies, Shipping Companies, Logistics Companies, Nigerdock, ANCLA, Maritime Training Institutions etc. Current estimated size of industry is about N5 billion per annum. To further this discussion, we may ask the rhetoric question why is the development of local capacity in the Maritime industry so important? The answer is because the world depends on merchant ships to transport over 80% (by weight) or the total cargo exchanged in World Trade. The present global economics could not exist without ocean shipping as two-third of the earths surface is covered by water. Ships now transport more than 5 billion tones of cargo each year and the total annual tones miles covered by merchant vessels exceeds 10 trillion world-wide. Ships facilitate trade and are a very crucial component of a nation’s competitiveness in international markets. Nigeria’s maritime industry (excluding crude oil) accounts for about 120 million tonne mile (about 0.13 percent of the world total) and yet is already playing a very significant role in the nation’s economy, second only to petroleum. The maritime industry worldwide represents a vital area of economic activity, which plays an overwhelming role in any nation’s economy. Apart from focusing on being a major foreign exchange earner, the maritime industry of any nation should generate substantial employment opportunities and boost national income and GDP. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 1977) in recognition of this, advised that where national investment in shipping can be justified economically, it should be encouraged as one means of conserving foreign exchange and increasing the invisible earnings capacity of developing nations in its international trade and export/import potential. The importance of adequate local capacity in the maritime industry can be quantified through the knowledge of opportunity cost to the host nation. A one time Minister of Transport, General Jeremiah Useni once stated (in 1985) that Nigeria needed a minimum of 150 medium sized ships to participate meaningfully in its maritime industry. Armed with this knowledge, it is possible to estimate the freight earnings or gross revenue Nigeria can earn in her international seaborne trade using a medium sized ship’s estimated earnings of about $25,000.99 a day as a basis. OTHER BENEFITS OF DEVELOPING LOCAL CAPACITY IN THE MARITIME INDUSTRY Other benefits of developing local capacity in Nigerian Maritime Industry are: ? The increased capacity would enable local companies to effectively demand to be allowed to participate in the lifting of our crude oil exports, which though forming over 90% of our external trade, totally excludes indigenous maritime operators. • It would enable Nigerians to quickly and effectively take control of the maritime activities along the West African sub-regions-potential as a regional maritime power. • An increase in effective participation of Nigerian owned vessels would also help to reduce foreign companies’ influence, exorbitant charges and price fixing of freight rated which have inflationary tendencies. • Encouraging indigenous shop owning investment even by non-shipping persons or institutions e.g. financial institutions in view of the obvious positive financial results that would arise from the sector. • Improve our level of maritime technology and know-how. • As Nigerians acquire more clout and confidence, more joint venture partnership would be formed with foreign companies to create synergy leading to exchange of technology, increased competition and efficiency. REVIEW OF SOME NATIONS MARITIME POLICIES The support for people and shipping by governments may assume different profiles in different countries. A good shipping policy ensures adequate development and economic growth; attracts local and international business, encourage the creation of jobs and as well wealth to the nation in both foreign and local currencies. FEATURES OF A GOOD SHIPPING POLICY Shipping and its Logistics CONCLUSION A good shipping policy should (1) be able to correct any imbalance in a country’s foreign trade; (2) use import and export trade to accelerate growth rate in the economy; (3) ensure that vessels under her flag and water, comply with relevant international standards i.e. in safety, welfare, and environmental protection, and should be effective in her monitoring mechanism. (4) ensure periodic review and update of the shipping and port policies, and must allow adequate time or warning before effecting maritime laws or changes; (5) be able to achieve a systematic control of the mechanics of sea transportation; (6) promote training in maritime transport technology and offer employment opportunities in the economy and (7) offer all the necessary and allowable protections and subsides to indigenous operators to ensure growth in her maritime industry. Jean Chiazor Anishere

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