Nigeria loses $1.9 bln to foreign ship owners as NNPC moves to support local fleet
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would support indigenous shipping firms to enjoy greater patronage and participation in the oil and gas maritime business, as it was revealed that Nigeria is losing $1.9 billion to foreign ship owners annually due to low patronage locally.
According to the chief executive officer of the state-owned oil firm Mele Kyariw, with the scale of the corporation’s activities in the maritime sector, NNPC would get more active in the affairs of the fleet management with a view to strengthening the synergy between the oil firm and the private sector.
Kyari, who was responding to an appeal by the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said NNPC will take more than passing interest in the activities of the local fleet management committee.
“We believe in this process, we will ensure that Nigerian ships enjoy a greater patronage in the business henceforth.”
As the major importer of refined petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and kerosene into Nigeria, many NNPC subsidiaries are involved in large-scale shipping operations.
Earlier, Chairman of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee, Hassan Bello told the NNPC chief that the country is losing $1.9 billion to foreign ship owners annually due to local patronage of local fleets.
The shippers’ council committee boss appealed to NNPC’s Group Managing Director to encourage subsidiaries of the oil firm to always engage indigenous shipping companies in their businesses.
He urged NNPC to grant local shipping companies the right of first refusal in crude oil lifting contracts, saying it would help grow the economy and sustain their businesses.
Bello told Kyari that the committee was set up three years ago by the Federal Ministry of Transportation with a mandate to promote Nigerian ownership of ships and vessels.
This, he said, would enable local companies take control of the shipping business which was in line with the economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.
Nigeria had enacted the cabotage law and the local content regulation as part of measures to boost patronage of local shipping company participation in the maritime business.
However, it was said that many indigenous shipping companies lack the required capacity and technical know-how to handle some of the cargoes emanating from the country.