A lecturer at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Dr Frank Ojadi and other stakeholders in the maritime industry have bemoaned the non-capturing of the maritime sector in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) describing it as worrisome and disturbing.
He disclosed this at the dinner/annual Nigerian Maritime Award (ANMA) organised by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) held in Lagos.
Ojadi said the Nigerian maritime sector is weak and may not be able to compete favourably with his contemporaries around the world.
He said: "You can't pin down what the Nigerian Maritime Industry contributes to the GDP and this is because 80 to 90 per cent of vessels that come into the country are foreign vessels. The foreign vessels owners repatriate the profit accrued from the shipping business in Nigeria to their various countries thereby making it difficult for Nigeria to retain the money in the economy."
He, however, urged the federal government to urgently disburse the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) for the development of the maritime sector.
According to him, "For the country to harness his huge maritime potential, there is need for the government to administer the ship acquisition funds also known as the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF) and focus on the infrastructure deficit at the seaports."
He stated further that the Maritime University Okerenkoko should be pursued and actualised for training of capacity in the maritime industry.
"Training vessels should be provided for the training of seafarers, "he added.
However, declaring the award session open, the Chairman of the event, Uju Tony Nwabunike called for quick completion of the port access roads.
Nwabunike, the President, Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) who was represented by the Vice President of the association, Kayode Farinto also rues lack of consistent policies in the maritime industry.
He said: "No consistent policy to drive the maritime industry, no port development plans like other developed countries."
According to Nwabunike, Nigeria generated over N10 billion in the maritime industry daily but government still neglect the sector.
"Nigeria generated over N10 billion daily in the maritime industry. The government generates the revenue from customs duties, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) among other charges but it has been neglected."