Mr Hassan Bello, the Acting Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) on Friday asked Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to increase their performance as the engine room of President Goodluck Jonathan's transformation agenda.
Bello said this at a meeting of the Council with the Association of Leather Allied Industrialists of Nigeria (ALAIN), Lagos branch.
He recalled that the shippers' council was set up in 1978 to facilitate transportation of imports and exports.
"Entrepreneurs and industrialists like you are important for us. That is why Nigerian Shippers Council is set up. We are here at your service.
"Coincidentally, I read in an Italian magazine about the daily struggle of replenishing the leather industry in Nigeria and for those of us who don't know, Nigeria has the best leather in the world.
"The so-called Moroccan leather is nothing but leather from the Sokoto rate goods which had been exported and that is why we have these Italian shoes. They are mostly leather from Nigeria.
"But because we have abdicated our basic responsibility of manufacturing or production as the chairman has said, that is why we are here.
"Nigerian Shippers Council is an economic agency and the benefit is actually to stimulate the Nigerian economy.
"The transformation Agenda is a serious agenda and we have to key into that.
"This industry particularly is important. Just like many small and medium scale industries are generating much revenue for Nigeria, we create employment for Nigerians and we can't toy with this kind of industry.
"So, Nigerian Shippers Council is ready to look at the problem they have with shipment of their products and assist them so that the industry will get a boost."
Bello said that the council would make the transportation system accessible and affordable to the association for trade facilitation.
In his response, Mr Chinonso Ememchukwu, Chairman of ALAIN, was optimistic that the association's collaboration with NSC would be fruitful.
He said that the association had been in existence since 1996, adding that it established the Lagos branch in June 2012.
Ememchukwu said that the association had branches in states that had leather such as Aba, Kano, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Lagos.
"There are some facilities we lack, that will enhance the production of leather product to come up more in advanced level, so that by the time it gets to somewhere like USA, Italy, it will be competing with the ones they have there.
"Actually we have been called to come and set up an office in Dubai where we can have our products displayed. Countries would be coming there to pick our Nigerian-made leather goods.
"We don't want to just answer that call because we want to perfect all these things. That is why we come to visit Nigerian Shippers Council in other to work together."
Emechukwu said the association had been supplying Angola goods since 2010, adding that there had been requests from U.S. and Philippines, but it had yet to supply the two nations.