Seafarers believe that the Nigerian maritime industry has the potential to create $100 billion per year if it is properly exploited and developed.
Maritime Professional Forum; Nigerian Association of Master Mariners; Great Mariners; Nigerian Seafarers Connect; Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron and Nigeria Maritime Pilot Assocation
The Secretary-General of the Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, Captain Alfred Oniye, spoke to the journalists present at the occasion and stated that the correct execution of the Cabotage Act may boost the country’s maritime industry to earn at least $50 billion yearly.
Because it will make more chances available in the business, the implementation of the Cabotage Act is expected to create at least $50 billion annually for the marine sector. Nigeria is losing territory through its maritime borders. This sector has the potential to bring in annual revenue of more than one hundred billion dollars for the current administration.
“Nigeria is not too tiny to have a coast guard, and the execution of the Cabotage Act is not the only reason for this. He was adamant that the formation of a coast guard would prove to be extremely beneficial for Nigeria.
According to Oniye, 80% of Nigerian seafarers do not have jobs, and the majority of those who do not have jobs are not working at sea.
If we want these seafarers to be on level with their counterparts around the world, all we have to do is provide them with further training, encourage them to become more professional, and find employment opportunities for them. Even for the foreigners who bring ships here with Nigerian flagships, the government needs to devise a policy that stipulates that 80 percent of the crew should be Nigerian seafarers and the remaining 20 percent should be foreigners.
It is imperative that the Federal Government formulate a plan that would foster the growth of the shipbuilding industry in this country. The construction of ships in Nigeria by alone will provide employment for more than 5,000 people in the country. Because the ship will be built here and owned by Nigerians, the implementation of the Cabotage Act would be sufficient to offer employment opportunities for over 15,000 Nigerians, as was further mentioned by him.
In addition to this, Captain William Ogunshakin, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Event, stated that “70% of vessels operating in Nigeria are owned by foreigners.” In addition, when you pay for their services, you do so in the country in where they are based. The money stays in that location. They barely pay a small amount to the few people that work here as laborers.
“At one time, the maritime industry was thriving. There was once a time when they would be pleading with you to give them a job. But in today’s world, obtaining employment does not guarantee contentment. The morale of the students in schools is completely nonexistent. When we were students, we put our faith in the fact that we would be successful in the job market and did everything in our power to graduate on time. However, it is not the same as it was before. The students have lost their will to learn. Because of this, we decided to open up this whole new avenue. We started a football squad and did everything we could to make sure they were delighted with it,” he explained.
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