Avoid Repeat Of Hadi Sirika, Air Nigeria Drama- CONMMEP Tells Minister, Marine and Blue Economy, Oyetola

Avoid Repeat Of Hadi Sirika, Air Nigeria Drama- CONMMEP Tells Minister, Marine and Blue Economy, Oyetola

The Congress Of Nigerian Maritime Media Practitioners (CONMMEP), has issued a cautionary statement to the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, urging him to avoid the pitfalls observed in Hadi A. Sirika’s failed bid to resucitate the defunct Nigeria Airways in the implementation of the Blue Economy initiative.

In a comprehensive analysis following the Minister’s recent public speech in Lagos on the rebuilding of the Nigeria National Shipping Line (NNSL), CONMMEP expresses apprehensions over lack of specificity in the government’s plan, particularly in capturing the $10 billion ship charter market.

The Association highlights concerns arising from the Minister’s emphasis on the re-establishment of the Nigerian National Shipping Lines (NNSL) without providing concrete details on its implementation strategies, leaving stakeholders in the dark about the actual mechanisms for achieving the initiative’s objectives. Vague terms like “substantial share” and “strategic PPP arrangement” were identified as lacking transparency and requiring further clarification and only makes it all look high falutin in all considerations.

CONMMEP in a statement signed by its President, Alhaji Tunde Umar-Daniah, questions the Minister’s claim that the initiative would not impede local players’ growth, raising concerns about potential negative impacts on existing businesses. The fact of omitting the conflicts or challenges associated with giving Nigerians exclusive control over locally generated seaborne trade especially in light of the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area- AfCFTA presents some measure of uncertainty.

The neglect of older and retired seafarers who served the NNSL for over 28 years was highlighted, emphasising a lack of inclusion in the Minister’s plan. Also, the absence of a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis have left many stakeholders confused and rather in head-scratching mode about the potential financial implications and risks associated with such a venture.

CONMMEP criticises the haphazard selective invitation of Maritime stakeholders, non official inclusion of all the litoral States and other relevant organisations like the Nigerian Navy to be a wrong start coupled with the shoddy organisation and juxtaposition of dignitaries from one seat to the other at the event.

Despite linking it to the President’s priorities, the speech neither provided a clear timeline for implementation nor did it establish a direct connection between the national shipping line and these priorities, thus creating a disjointed narrative.

The press statement notes that the speech leaned heavily on the benefits of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models without addressing potential pitfalls or challenges associated with this approach.

CONMMEP also emphasises that the speech which hints at innovation through PPP models failed to outline specific measures for its implementation.

Anticipations of substantial job opportunities, the statement added, lacked a detailed plan on job creation or sustainability and is without clear metrics to measure the initiative’s success.

Indeed, the focus on utilising Inland Rivers, Lakes, and Waterways for cargo shipment and passenger transportation was noted, but details on safety measures and strategies to mitigate these risks were also lacking, potentially risking accidents or mishaps leaving stakeholders uncertain about the ability to address unforseen challenges.

Finally, since government is a continuum, it will be advisable for the Honourable Minister to revisit what his predecessor did in this regard. The former Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, did set up a committee involving two ministries-Ministry of Transportation and the Labour Ministry respectively. The said committee was charged with the responsibility of carrying out physical verification exercise of the aged Seafarers, which if well managed would bring some sort of succour; but with this recent speech, the story is still the same. It is indeed unfortunate to note here that the said committee never met since it was set up by the last administration.

CONMMEP therefore urges the honourable Minister, Oyetola to address these concerns promptly and transparently to ensure the success and sustainability of the NNSL rebuilding initiative and the holistic growth of the Marine and Blue economy.

Online Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *