Dakuku Peterside, director-general of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), says the agency is working towards a time when foreign-owned vessels will not be allowed to trade on Nigerian waters.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday, Dakuku said current cabotage waivers will be phased out within the next five years.
“We have rolled out a five-year cabotage waiver cessation plan. That means that in the next five years, there are a number of waivers we would no longer grant,” he told Channels TV.
“So we expect that most vessels that would be trading within our waters will be built in Nigeria, we already have shipbuilding yards. Most vessels will be flagged Nigeria and most vessels must be owned by Nigerians, we are not going to allow foreign-owned vessels at some point.”
Speaking further, he said the federal government has made plans to have a national fleet which would be private-sector driven.
“The direction of the world is that the private sector people are in a better position to run businesses. As a country, as a reason of national pride, creating employment, reasons for security consideration and other economic reasons, we pushed for the creation of a national fleet.
“The honorable minister’s dream, which has the president’s endorsement, is that let it be private-sector driven, the country might just have minimal equity in the national fleet. We have that plan and we have set up a team led by the executive secretary of the Shippers Council. We believe that when it comes to fruition, we will have a shipping line that will fly the national flag.”
Dakuku urged Nigerians to maximize opportunities in the maritime sector.
“We need to train our people so that they would be able to take advantage of the opportunities when there will be a complete cessation of waivers. Nigeria can export seafarers to other countries. In the next three years, we should be able to have 5000 seafarers with international certification.”
Dakuku, who was the former commissioner of works in Rivers, said the seafarers would result in billions of foreign remittances for Nigeria.