The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has called for a policy change in the carriage of Nigerian generated cargoes free on board (FOB) to cost insurance and freight (CIF).
NSC said the policy change, which will affect the carriage of Nigerian cargo, particularly crude oil, would enable Nigerians derive what it called "a lot of benefits" presently eluding the country.
Acting Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NSC, Alhaji Hassan Bello, who disclosed this in Lagos, argued that the carriage policy change to CIF would enable the government build local capacity in shipping as Nigerians will enjoy the advantage of lifting crude oil and other cargoes.
A lawyer by profession, Bello said NSC has not been able to supply the country with accurate data on crude export and import of refined petroleum products. He also pointed out that an unprecedented number of job opportunities could be created, especially for Nigerian seafarers, if the policy is adopted.
"This is another important question. Unfortunately, the operation of the Nigerian shippers has been restricted to dry cargo. It is important that if you look at the law, the freight stabilisation bill, as from the commencement of this regulation, there should be charges on import and export in Nigeria. Nobody said dry cargo, nobody said wet cargo. Right now shipment is our responsibility.
"We want to commence a study on the need for our cargoes to be carried on cost insurance and freight (CIF) basis instead of FOB (Free on Board). We have realised that Nigeria is one of the few countries where you have FOB in the carriage of petroleum products. This will not encourage capacity building. The effect of FOB carriage on the economy is so tremendous. There will be so much encouragement by our banks and insurance firms. There will be indigenous capacity.
"We have the cargoes and we should be allowed to carry these cargoes. I am sure if you look at the Local Content Act, the PIB bill, there could be some element of this, but the Nigerian Shippers Council has been agitating on the carriage of crude on CIF," he said.