The ship owners, under the aegis of Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), said the government’s inability to match words with action was the main reason why the huge potential of the maritime sector of the economy has not been maximised over the years.
They decried the absence of a virile indigenous maritime sector, which is capable of conserving the nation’s hard-earned foreign exchange and boosting employment generation for rapid development of shipowners’ capacities and capabilities, is not high on the current national agenda.
Speaking at ISAN second quarter general meeting in Lagos, ISAN Chairman, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, expressed regret that the various recommendations designed to turn the industry around remains unrealisable in view of absence of the approval by President Goodluck Jonathan.
His words: “We have made presentations to the President and the National Economic Management Team, through membership of the Presidential Committee on Harnessing the Potential of the Maritime Sector for Sustainable Development where I chaired the Cabotage and Local Content sub-committee in addition to my membership of the Business Support Group representing the maritime sector.
“Our findings and experience in all of these interactions are mixed. On one hand, we have been able to raise the issue of maritime underdevelopment to the highest national governance level. However, on the other hand we have realised that we have a huge task on our hands to ensure we ensure achieve our desired objective.”
Jolapamo stated that a situation where “those who have sacrificed their all to sustain this industry are now languishing in penury while foreigners and their collaborators with none industry players continue to dictate the direction of the sector” is absolutely intolerable.
He said the continuous engagement of the highest level of the government by ISAN was hinged on the belief that the association’s practical involvement would lead to policies that are beneficial to its members’ operations as maritime entrepreneurs.
The ship owners also used the occasion of the meeting to announce a change in the name of their association from ISAN to Nigeria Shipowners Association (NISA). No reason was given for the name change.
Information from This Day was used in this report.