Sunday, 24 March 2013

Shipping sector needs competition to grow, says Ezekwesili

Having taken a cursory look at the shipping sector, which has contended with stunted growth in Nigeria, former World Bank’s Vice President for Africa Region, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has said that it is only competition that can drive development in the shipping industry.

Ezekwesili, who delivered a paper on Financing Options for Shipping Development at the second day of the just concluded Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) 2013 held in Lagos, said that the sector has not opened up effectively, because the players have not formulated effective communication strategy with other players in Nigeria.

Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, also advised Nigerian ship owners to do away with sentiments and rely less on government in taking control of trading on Nigerian waters.

She advised operators in the shipping sector to drive their arguments with economic data to attract funds, while encouraging them to make use of alternative sources such as issuance of bonds to finance ship acquisition and other capital projects in the sector.

While lamenting low participation of indigenous operators, the former World Bank chief said: “Confronted with the low indigenous participation in the shipping trade, the Federal Government is, typically, planning to throw tax payers’ money down another black hole, a plan being hatched by apparatchiks for yet another special intervention fund to bail out local ship owners is misplaced and alarming in a country where such funds have been serially embezzled.

”Stimulating the maritime industry requires a more creative policy framework that will make shipping attractive to investors, ease access to cheap funding and encourage mergers.”



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