Buhari’s administration and the future of maritime in Nigeria

Corruption has made Nigeria to make less profit from the maritime industry. People, especially supporters of the new administration headed President Muhammadu Buhari, known for his aversion to corrupt tendencies, believe that there are better times ahead for Nigeria.

All sectors and industries in Nigeria are set to enter a new phase, with the majority of voters believing that the new administration is the hope for Nigeria. How will the maritime sector fare?

Maritime sector experts believe that by making sure transparency and accountability in operations of maritime and oil & gas sectors of the Nigerian economy, revenues lost to negative actions in various sectors and industries will be saved for developmental programmes and projects that will benefit Nigerians.

All sectors and industries in Nigeria are set to enter a new phase, with the majority of voters believing that the new administration
is the hope for Nigeria.

Maritime agencies, regulators and companies must be closely regulated. These include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other regulators in the maritime and oil & gas

For many years, the maritime industry has been largely neglected for reasons obvious and some not obvious. Nigeria’s shipping sector is estimated to be capable of generating more than it is generating right now. But to tap fully into the maritime sector, there will have to be an overhaul of policy, institutional, regulatory and legal framework.

To think that Nigeria is in this kind of situation is strange, since the country is well known for being responsible for most of maritime traffic in value and volume into central and West Africa, making the country the key destination for international ships and tankers of all sizes.

There’s need for Nigeria to have active participation in cargo freighting and ancillary services currently being dominated by foreign interests. With the free fall of global oil prices, which is taking a toll on Nigerian economy, the country’s inability to fully make use of its maritime potentials with a capacity to become the largest foreign exchange earner for the federal government if the regulatory environment is right and an enabling for indigenous
players to thrive is created.

The fall in oil prices also forced the former administration to start looking more seriously into alternative sources of revenue to fund its annual budget. Maritime is believed to hold more opportunity for diversification in Nigeria.

Nigeria could be losing over N2 trillion in maritime due to revenue leakages in the system, which licensed customs agents has said would be addressed when one percent of the cost insurance and freight (CIF) paid on cargoes is given as commission to agents. This, they believe, is the only way government can earn over N2 trillion allegedly lost to revenue leakages at the ports annually.

The Nigerian Customs Service failed to meet its revenue target of N1.2 trillion for year 2014, making only N970 billion. This year and in subsequent years, the present administration would like to see how to improve matters in this respect.

Strangely enough, it has been revealed that the Nigerian government can make over N3 trillion from duty collection alone at the ports, if not for the several leakages in the system, which would be blocked once government accede to their demands of a percentage. These step are necessary because experts
feel that it is realistic for the maritime industry to contribute significantly to the nation’s gross domestic product.

There also has to be legal reviews put in place. This will include Review of Maritime Operations Coordination Act of 1992 to stop crude theft, Review of Ports and Harbour Bill to attract investors, Review/Drafting Cabotage Amendment Bill to enforce local content, review and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill as well as the necessary advocacy to highlight the Petroleum Industry Bill.


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