An effective strategy to tackle the nagging problem of unemployment in Nigeria lies in establishing additional shipyards in Africa’s most populous nation.
Chairman of the Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) 2015 Planning Committee, Prince Ayorinde Adedoyin, said that the establishment of more shipyards in Nigeria would solve the problem of unemployment because of the large workforce required for operations by shipyards.
Adedoyin suggested that Nigeria could adopt the Brazilian example, which, according to him, required ships meant for long-term contracts to be built in the country.
“Let me use Brazil as an example. The law says categorically that any vessel that would do a long-term contract in Brazil must be built in Brazil. See how many shipyards in the world that ran to Brazil to go and set up shipyards. See how many thousands of jobs that they’ve created.
“Why do we find it very difficult to enforce the law that we have written? If we enforce it, it would be beneficial to us. If there is a shipyard, you will have direct workers. You will have suppliers. You have suppliers to supply. You would have food vendors. See the chain and it goes,” he said.
Adedoyin, who made a strong case for the enforcement of the Nigerian Cabotage Law, said that many trained seafarers were jobless due to lack of vessels in which they could work.
On the plight of Nigerian ship owners, he lamented that the average ship owner in the country had been reduced to begging for jobs that are theirs by right.
Meanwhile, policy makers and key economic players are expected to form part of the discourse on economic regeneration at the 2015 Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX), according to the NIMAREX 2015 Planning Committee.
The Coordinator of the Intellectual and Strategy Sub-Committee of the NIMAREX 2015 Planning Committee, Dr Omogbai Omo-Eboh, said: “We are looking at seeing principal actors in the economic landscape in Nigeria. Those that formulate economic policies for the country like the Minister of Finance, who is the head of the Economic Team. We are looking at seeing the Governor of the Central Bank or his representative.
“We are looking at those industry stakeholders who have already invested a lot in this industry and who have the capacity to do more to grow the industry even further, for the benefit of Nigerians.”
Omo-Eboh, who is also the President of the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN), said that the paper presentations would cover the need to reposition the nation’s economy for multiple revenue sources.
“We have identified the papers and topics and built them around the theme of this year’s NIMAREX, and the theme we have selected is ‘Regenerating Economic Growth through the maritime sector.
“And we believe that this theme is quite apposite because we need to realign the Nigerian economy. The economy has been for too long, a mono-dependent economy, in the sense that we have depended largely on our oil revenues. Now, the price of crude oil is taking a nosedive in the international market and that has the consequence of affect ting the government’s income stream, its revenue profile and its budget.
“Therefore we are looking, and we believe the government is also looking at other sources of generating income and we think the maritime industry presents a very good opportunity for this,” Omo-Eboh said.
It was important, according to him, to regenerate Nigeria’s economic growth through the maritime sector, which the papers and topics were aligned to address.
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