The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello has revealed that the maritime industry only contributes N2 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) instead of N7 trillion initial target.
Bello stated this Tuesday in Abuja in a chat with reporters while highlighting how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the nation’s economy and his organisation’s way forward. He expressed dismay that the maritime sector was faced with several challenges that have weighed it down over the years.
He said the time has come for the federal government and other stakeholders to give the sector the needed support to be able to contribute meaningfully to the GDP as well as absorb the shocks from oil and gas sector volatility.
Bello therefore called on the federal government to give the NSC political support to help in the ease and cost of doing business.
He also appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look in the direction of the NSC as it has done in other sectors which has greatly helped the economy especially in the face of the covid-19 pandemic, stating that but for this apex bank intervention, the nation would have been in a mess.
“Today we are consuming Nigerian rice, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other countries are no longer exporting rice due to the lockdown, this may take two to three years before they can export because now they are feeding their people before thinking of Nigeria in that manner.
“We have Comparative advantage in 50 crops. Let the CBN look at the logistic chain of these and the infrastructure that can drive them and provide the processing and packaging that will free Nigeria from oil volatility using agro-based goods to stimulate the economy,” he said.
According to him, Nigerian ports are not configured for export, this, he said, needs port digitization which is paperless, less contact, this makes the process more efficient and result oriented, adding that Covid-19 was a slap on Nigeria’s face.