President of Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, says the Shipping Expo exhibition will create more employment and investment opportunities toward boosting the nation’s economy.
Onyung, who made the disclosure at a news briefing in Lagos on Thursday, said that the theme of the expo: “The Ocean Blue Economy and National Development”, was chosen to enable Nigeria explore opportunities in the blue economy.
According to him, the exhibition tagged: “The Lagos international Shipping Expo,” scheduled to hold in Nov. 27 and 28 at Oriental Hotel, will expose Nigerians to utilise the resources of the ocean for sustainability.
“Our Cabotage Law has been with us for 15 years now, we see it as contribution to ensuring that we open the doors for people to understand what cabotage really means and the opportunities in it.
“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had established a committee between the agency and stakeholders to look into the challenges affecting the waivers in the last five years.
“We must have both ship building and ship repair yard in Nigeria, there is need to open up for acquisition.
“Within the next five years, the Nigeria Content will be in the region of 3.5 billion dollars and in order to enjoy these benefits, we need to upgrade our capacity.
”The upcoming conference will open opportunities to collaborate toward ship building opportunities in Nigeria,” Onyung said.
He said the association was working toward decongesting the Lagos ports by reviving the other ports in the country to create more jobs for Nigerians.
Onyung said Nigeria was blessed with over 840 kiloliters of Nautical miles of coastline and nearly 10,000 kilometers of Inland waters, adding that Norwegian had their waters frozen for eight months in a year but it owned a lot of ships in the country now.
He explained that shipping was an old trade but Nigeria was yet to benefit and need to build capacity in the shipping business.
The SOAN boss said all shipowners in Nigeria have been working tirelessly to ensuring that Cabotage act is effective in the country .
He emphasised the need for Nigerian to expand shipping capacity, saying that marine notice had been established by NIMASA to ban substandard ships coming into the country.