Nigeria loses $15bn annually to foreign dominance- ship chandlers


…call for FG’s intervention

The Nigerian Licensed Ship-Chandlers Association has sought the Federal Government’s intervention to regularize operations of the industry in the interest of indigenous operators given an estimated $15 billion lost annually to foreign dominance.

President of the Association, Dr. Martins Enebeli disclosed this on Friday at a round-table meeting with newsmen in Lagos.

Enebeli said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has not lived up to its responsibility as the agency of government meant to oversee their operations, adding that some staff of the regulatory agency in alliance with the foreign ship chandlers take jobs meant for licensed chandlers.

“It is sad, because the Nigerian Ship Chandlers are duly registered by the Nigeria Customs Service. “The problem of connivance to take over chandelling jobs started when the Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA) was created in 1987 to serve as the apex regulatory body.

NIMASA was created for the enhancement of the operations, but it has deviated from that. “Why is NIMASA far from operators, when it is supposed to be engaging them? This sector can generate $15 billion annually for the Nigerian economy if the regulators do what they should”, Enebeli stated.

He further called for the establishment of a standing committee that would be able to address the constraints in their operations.

The helmsman of the association also described as pathetic and strange, the situation where Nigerian-bound vessels make stops at other countries, take supplies of their sundry needs before coming to Nigeria, something he said never happened until 1987.

Also speaking during the roundtable, Vice President of the association, Mr. Abilo Ochuko, accused terminal operators of denying the Nigerian Ship Chandlers access to the area where they can meet with the chief of a vessel.

He said: “We pay yearly charges to terminal operators, yet, we are not allowed access into the common-user facility areas. They create bottlenecks for our operations, and sidetrack the jobs meant for us.”

Enebeli added that in a situation where the Local Content Act is respected and implemented millions of Nigerians in the production and supply chain of every demand by the vessels would be automatically engaged.

Culled from Ships & Ports