OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to establish a new Shipping Line and a viable National Carrier.
Following a motion moved by Lawal Garba (APC, Adamawa), the Representatives urged the government to engage with the private sector and strike a Public Private Partnership (PPP) while providing an enabling environment for them to thrive.
Garba explained that “the Nigerian National Shipping Line was founded in 1959 to enhance import and export businesses and by 1979, Nigeria had a vibrant shipping line with over 19 ocean-going ships, a situation that provided jobs for over 200,000 Nigerians.
“…as at 1996 there was only one vessel, NV Abuja, which was purchased by the late Gen. Sani Abacha administration to bridge the gap in training, balance payments and [provide] the needed ForEx as some vessels were arrested by clients while others were sold. The NV Abuja, which was once a pride of the nation was sold in 2005.
“Freight-related costs accrue on [an] annual basis of over $6 billion dollars by the Nigerian Imports and Exports to foreign Shipping Companies, a sum that could be ploughed back into the Nigerian economy if Nigeria had a vibrant Shipping Line.”
The lawmaker also decried the lack of a national carrier by the country, which he argued would have created employment for people in the country.
“The establishment of a new National Fleet has the capacity to transform the life of an average citizen with improved economic fundamentals in economic diversification and profound impact on the economy.
“Floating a new National Shipping Line will boost freight haulage, create jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians to work and practice their profession and have sea time experience,” he debated.
In support of the motion, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma (APC, Edo) condemned the practice of selling national assets, which he explained could have contributed to the economic development.
Another lawmaker, Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia), described the situation as “unfortunate” and called for a sectoral debate on the state of the National Shipping Line.
The motion was adopted unanimously after it was put to vote by the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara.