Transport Minister, Idris Umar
By John Iwori
Not less than N2 trillion is lost to capital flight in the maritime sector of the economy annually, the Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) has said.
Similarly, the association said the sector which is regarded as the second largest revenue earner into the central till after oil and gas, has the capacity to provide not less than 5 million jobs for Nigerian youths presently combing the streets.
Chairman of ISAN, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, disclosed these at the association’s extraordinary general meeting at Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos.
Jolapamo, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Morlap Group, noted that no fewer than 150 million tonnes of cargoes are being moved per annum in the sector, with little or no participation by Nigerian shipowners.
He expressed regret that the maritime sector of the economy has not been able to maximise the huge potentials in the sector because it has been floundering over the years. His words: “It is disheartening to note that Nigeria has failed to take advantage of the vast potentials in the industry to get our youths employed. Nobody can solve our problems better than ourselves.”
The shipping magnate pointed out that many maritime nations, including India, Indonesia and Malaysia had used the maritime industry to improve their economies while Nigeria is yet to find her bearing over the years.
The ISAN Chairman maintained that no nation has ever witnessed sustainable economic development without maximising the potentials in the maritime sector of the economy.
He enjoined members of ISAN to focus on how to create jobs for the numerous youths roaming around the streets for non existing jobs.
Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, in his remarks at the occasion said the agency was desirous of a united and vibrant ISAN so that it can achieve its set goals and objectives.
The NIMASA helmsman contended that a strong united ISAN would not only move the maritime sector of the economy forward, but also move Nigeria forward for the benefit of her citizenry.
Akpobolokemi, who was represented at the occasion by NIMASA Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Alhaji Ibrahim Zailani, stated that the agency would support ISAN to ensure the sustainable development of the maritime sector of the economy.
“We are interested in what is happening in ISAN. We would monitor your activities and support you. Without ISAN there cannot be