The Nigerian government has been charged to compel international oil companies to give oil freight jobs to indigenous ship-owners operating in the country’s cabotage waters.
The chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, Vicky Hastrup, stated this while reacting to recent acquisition a large crude-carrying vessel by an indigenous oil company, Brittania-U.
She said the Nigerian government needed to protect the local oil firms and indigenous shipping lines by enforcing policies and laws in favour of cabotage trading, to create jobs for the indigenous shipping lines.
“The acquisition of the largest vessel in Nigeria by a woman was a very daring move and needs to be commended. To acquire vessels to service the IOCs is not a mean feat, and that is why the Federal Government must make and enforce laws and policies to support such investments,” she told Financial Street in a chat.
CEO of Brittania-U, Uju Ifejika, acquired the biggest vessel owned by any Nigerian for crude oil freighting.
Hastrup said, “Nigeria’s policies do not encourage such investments. She is not even sure how many of the IOCs will be willing to give her job. We have a lot of foreign ships still doing cabotage trading and they are getting support of the IOCs.
“Government needs to enforce the enabling policies to propel Nigerian businesses in the maritime sector because, at the end, the foreign ship-owners take the money to their country. The money they make from here will not be spent in Nigeria.
“Vessels don’t come cheap. They are bought at tens of millions of dollars. She would not have been able to acquire the vessel without support by Nigerian banks, but if she is not given jobs by the IOCs, how will she service the credit?
“Nigeria needs to create the enabling environment for more of this kind of bold investment decisions to be made. A lot of Nigerian ship-owners used to have vessels in the past, but now how many of them have vessels that IOCs should be compelled to patronise indigenous ship-owners.”