Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has blamed the stakeholders in the maritime sector for the country’s inability to own a national shipping line.
Mr Amaechi made the disclosure on Friday at a thanksgiving service to mark the 71st birthday celebration of the Chairman of a popular shipping company in Nigeria, Gregory Ogbeifun, in Benin, Edo State.
The transport minister said unless Nigerians provided 60% of the investment as required by law, establishing a national shipping line would not be realisable.
According to him, the law requires that 60% of the funding be provided by Nigerians while the remaining 40% be contributed by foreigners.
He said the plan has become practically impossible due to the unwillingness of major players in the maritime industry to raise the funds.
Mr Amaechi said though a foreign firm had offered to provide 100% of the money required for setting up the shipping line, he would not grant such approval as doing so would amount to flouting the law.
“For not having a national shipping line, some stakeholders in the maritime sector think that I may not have done well. The law setting up a national shipping line says that Nigerians would provide 60% of the investment and foreigners will provide 40%,” Mr Amaechi reiterated.
“So, I went to Singapore, got a company that accepted to bring the 40% but unfortunately, till today, no Nigerian has been able to provide the remaining 60%. The company had said to me that they would bring all the 100% and hire some Nigerians as stakeholders, but I disagreed because that would amount to breaking the law,” he stressed.
Adding, he said: “There is also a company in Dubai that said they would set up the national shipping line by providing the 100% but I have told them that the law only allows them (foreigners) to provide 40%.”
His job, he insisted, was to provide a conducive environment for business to thrive, which he said he was always striving to achieve.
Writing by Fubara Pepple; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor