The Nigeria Shipowners Association (NISA) on Wednesday urged the new Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to concentrate on shipping.
The President of NISA, Capt. Niyi Labinjo, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said Nigeria could realise from the shipping sector as much as between two to three trillion naira yearly.
The mariner explained that in terms of foreign exchange earnings, the nation could earn 15 to 20 billion dollars yearly, or even more.
The ship owner explained that shipping could also provide employment for well over one million Nigerians.
He advised that the focus should not, therefore, only be on the railways, stressing that it should be all encompassing.
Labinjo said that if government ignored shipping investments, operators would be forced to go to Ghana, Equitorial Guinea or Angola, or any other country.
He said that past ministers of transport focused attention only on the railways, saying that “past ministers of transport saw shipping as belonging to the foreigners ‘’.
The mariner said government should take into consideration that in the shipping business, the operator would pay taxes, create employment and provide ancillary businesses for Nigerians.
He said Nigeria should learn from Singapore, where everybody “is into shipping’’.
“Singapore has a population of over 100 million people. It has no single drop of oil and has just six per cent of what Nigeria has in terms of water frontage.
“The Philippines also relies a lot on shipping, ’’ Labinjo told NAN.
He described the incoming minister as an intelligent Nigerian and a goal-getter. (NAN)