THE Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, recently stated that with the sad demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), the country lost and had since continued to forfeit several economic and human development opportunities.
Governor Obaseki made the observation recently in Onne, Rivers State, during the official christening of the nation’s latest addition to the Nigerian ‘fleet’, the MV OSANYAMO, a newly built vessel belonging to the STARZS Group, which was delivered by the Damen Ship Yard.
The governor expressed a sincere desire to see the nation’s capacity building institutions synergize, in the bid to boost employment opportunities and consequently improve the citizens’ present economic conditions.
“I feel really privileged that I am performing for the first time in my life, the christening, dedication and commissioning of a vessel. I have never done it before”, the governor stated, describing the shipping terrain in Nigeria, not only as “scary” but also, seriously dominated by foreign operators.
He commended the STARZS Group Chairman. Greg Ogbeifun for his dedication, commitment and resourcefulness, particularly in mobilizing local funds, institutional supports and utilizing same, in a very challenging environment, all in a bid to lift Nigeria’s flag as well as boost the employment opportunities for other Nigerians.
“Overtime, the maritime industry, in spite of the supports it had received, such as the Cabotage Law, and the Local Content Law, has continued to be dominated like I said, by foreign companies.
“Apart from the brief spell when we had the NNSL which offered Nigerians sea opportunities in the maritime industry as we know, that endeavor failed, and as a country we lost that opportunity to build the human capacity and resources to go ahead to dominate”, the Governor added.
Obaseki grieved that the country’s weak economic position had seriously affected not only the nation’s balance of trade, but devastatingly also, the well-being and the future of the youths.
Concluding, he enjoined the financial sector, the Local Content Board and other institutional bodies to synergize, create more opportunities and ensure a more assured future for Nigerians, particularly in the maritime sector, in the immediate future.
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