06 February 2013, Sweetcrude, Abuja – THE Nigerian Government is set to launch an intervention funding for the development of the maritime industry in country to aid the growth and development of the sector.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on maritime matters Mr. Leke Oyewole made the disclosure while recently, noting that the decision to establish the maritime fund is part of the outcome of the successful Presidential maritime retreat hosted last year in Abuja.
He disclosed that the report of the retreat is ready and that the President has redirected that the Economic Monitoring Team review the report and make recommendations to government for establishment of the fund.
Operators in the maritime industry, particularly the local shipping operators had protested the exclusion of the sector in the provision of intervention funding to different sectors of the economy.
Speaking on the exclusion of the maritime sector, Secretary of the Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) Captain Niyi Labinjo said that the government has not shown seriousness regarding development of the maritime sector adding that this has been the same situation with successive governments.
Labinjo noted that over $500million was given to the aviation industry; $200million was given to the entertainment industry, while nothing was given to the maritime sector.
The ISAN secretary said the sector was capable of generating five million jobs at any point in time, noting that the industry has suffered high level of under development due to neglect by past government.
Labinjo disclosed that the Nigerian maritime industry loses more than a trillion Naira each year compared to the N100 billion lost in the Nigeria aviation industry.
The retired Naval Officer said that they have done everything possible to make government see the need to invest in infrastructural development of the industry but all these efforts have not yielded any fruit.