The Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), has decried the lack of progress in the nation’s maritime sector as a result of the neglect of the sector. The President NISA, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, who was speaking at this year’s Nigerian Maritime Expo in Lagos, regretted that despite the role shipping has played and has continued to play in the economic life of the nation, it has continued to suffer neglect.
“Unfortunately, we have not paid the required attention to this important sector. One hundred years after, we are still struggling with getting it right especially in the ownership of key operations in the sector,” he lamented.
Proffering solution to the apparent neglect of the sector, Chief Jolapamo said:
“One quick way of resolving the situation we found ourselves in the shipping sector today is by implementing the report of the Presidential Committee on Development of the Maritime Industry.” He recalled that the committee which was chaired by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, was set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012 after a Presidential retreat on the maritime industry at the State House, Abuja.
According to the NISA chairman, another way of enhancing local participation in the nation’s shipping trade is the removal of the waiver clause from the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage ) Act 2003.
He said this will go a long way in addressing the plight of indigenous ship owners whose businesses, he said, have been badly damaged and who are now owing banks close to half a trillion Naira.
Maritime sector again missing in rebased GDP
The contribution of Nigeria’s maritime sector is conspicuously missing from the rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nation’s economy just released.
Nigeria’s rebased GDP figures for 2013 released on Sunday afternoon by the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, showed an 89 percent jump in the estimated size of the economy.
The new rebased data showed that the size of the Nigerian economy is now estimated at N80.3 trillion ($510 billion) for 2013.
With the new figures, Nigeria has surpassed South Africa as the largest economy in Africa after overhauling its GDP data for the first time in two decades.
Rebasing/re-benchmarking of the national account series (GDP) is the process of replacing an old base year to compile volume measures of GDP with a new and more recent base year or price structure.
Maritime operators are worried that the shipping sector has been consistently ignored in Nigeria’s past GDP figures. If captured, the sector’s contribution should cover activities such as port operation, indigenous shipping and inland water transportation.
Elsewhere, the contribution of the maritime sector is distinctly captured and stated. For example, in the United Kingdom, the maritime services sector made an estimated £13.8 billion direct value-added contribution to GDP in 2012. This is equivalent to 0.9 percent of the UK economy.
Maritime industry operators have often condemned President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for ignoring the development and contribution of the maritime industry to national development.
One of such strong voices is the Chairman, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo who has consistently said that the federal government has failed to show enough commitment to issues concerning the sector.
Until now, the GDP estimates for Nigeria have been based on a base year of 1990, which means that current GDP (say for example 2013 GDP) are expressed in terms of prices of goods and services in 1990.
Hitherto, the agric sector used to be the dominant contributor to Nigeria’s GDP but that is no longer the case as other sectors such as finance services, construction and entertainment have started making appreciable contribution to the economy.