Jolapamo who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Morlap Shipping Company Limited, said that many indigenous ship owners have been forced out of business while those who chose to remain in the business are weighed down by huge debts.
Painting a gory picture on the plight of Nigerian ship owners, Jolapamo said many Nigerian ship owners unlike their foreign counterparts are battling for survival.
His words: “In the last couple of years, more than 50 per cent of the indigenous ship owners are out of business and there are still more to go due to unfavourable business conditions. We have been pauperized and not many of us can even come to the office. Those of us who summon the courage to come to office are hoping help would come someday.
“There is no serious sign to show government is serious about developing the sector. What you have now is a situation where people who have stolen money buy ship to keep the money and use such vessels for their deals. They are not real investors.”
Jolapamo who is regarded as a father among Nigerian ship owners because of his age and long foray into the shipping sector of the economy, noted that the business of indigenous ship owners have been hampered by huge debts, poor business environment, lack of access to funds and other unfavourable economic factors.
The NISA Chairman expressed dismay over the way and manner Nigerian ship owners are being discriminated and deprived opportunities in Nigeria unlike their foreign counterparts.
He specifically decried the domination of the shipping sector of the Nigerian economy by foreign ship owners over the years.
He argued that the scenario has left many Nigerian ship owners holding the short end of the stick vis-à-vis their foreign counterparts.
His words: “Unlike their foreign counterparts, Nigerian shippers grasping for contracts and other opportunities. Unfortunately, shipping business in Nigeria is controlled by foreigners Most contracts are usually sealed in London, Paris or Singapore. This is so because Nigerian system allows it.
Recently, the Chinese government disclosed that the business between Nigeria and China now runs into billions of naira. 10 per cent of that money goes to freight- movement of cargoes – and that is a capital flight of billions of naira to China. If you make a case from this, you will be seen as an activist. We are not activists but investors.”
– John Iwori, This Day