Corruption has made Nigeria to make less profit from the maritime industry. People,
especially supporters of the new administration headed President Muhammadu
Buhari, known for his aversion to corrupt tendencies, believe that there are better
times ahead for Nigeria.
All sectors and industries in Nigeria are set to enter a new phase, with the majority of
voters believing that the new administration is the hope for Nigeria. How will the
maritime sector fare?
Maritime sector experts believe that by making sure transparency and accountability
in operations of maritime and oil & gas sectors of the Nigerian economy, revenues
lost to negative actions in various sectors and industries will be saved for
developmental programmes and projects that will benefit Nigerians.
Maritime agencies, regulators and companies must be closely regulated. These
include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian
Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC) and other regulators in the maritime and oil & gas industries.
For many years, the maritime industry has been largely neglected for reasons
obvious and some not obvious. Nigeria’s shipping sector is estimated to be capable
of generating more than it is generating right now. But to tap fully into the maritime
sector, there will have to be an overhaul of policy, institutional, regulatory and legal
To think that Nigeria is in this kind of situation is strange, since the country is well
known for being responsible for most of maritime traffic in value and volume into
central and West Africa, making the country the key destination for international
ships and tankers of all sizes.
There’s need for Nigeria to have active participation in cargo freighting and ancillary
services currently being dominated by foreign interests. With the free fall of global oil
prices, which is taking a toll on Nigerian economy, the country's inability to fully make
use of its maritime potentials with a capacity to become the largest foreign exchange
earner for the federal government if the regulatory environment is right and an
enabling for indigenous players to thrive is created.
The fall in oil prices also forced the former administration to start looking more
seriously into alternative sources of revenue to fund its annual budget. Maritime is
believed to hold more opportunity for diversification in Nigeria.
Nigeria could be losing over N2 trillion in maritime due to revenue leakages in the
system, which licensed customs agents has said would be addressed when one
percent of the cost insurance and freight (CIF) paid on cargoes is given as
commission to agents. This, they believe, is the only way government can earn over
N2 trillion allegedly lost to revenue leakages at the ports annually.
The Nigerian Customs Service failed to meet its revenue target of N1.2 trillion for
year 2014, making only N970 billion. This year and in subsequent years, the present
administration would like to see how to improve matters in this respect.
Strangely enough, it has been revealed that the Nigerian government can make over
N3 trillion from duty collection alone at the ports, if not for the several leakages in the
system, which would be blocked once government accede to their demands of a
percentage. These step are necessary because experts feel that it is realistic for the
maritime industry to contribute significantly to the nation's gross domestic product.
There also has to be legal reviews put in place. This will include Review of Maritime
Operations Coordination Act of 1992 to stop crude theft, Review of Ports and
Harbour Bill to attract investors, Review/Drafting Cabotage Amendment Bill to enforce local content, review and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill as well as the necessary advocacy to highlight the Petroleum Industry Bill.