The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has disclosed that a total of $15 billion lifeline would be made available for industrial development in Nigeria in the next five years.
The President of the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. MkGeorge Onyung who disclosed this shortly before being inaugurated as the new President of the association last Friday in Lagos, also said that out of the $15 billion lifeline, $3.5 billion would come in marine spread for the maritime sector alone.
Onyung who revealed that the money would not be coming from the yearly budget of the country however assured that the money was meant to be spent and must be domiciled with Nigerians.
In his words,” Last week, we went to NCDMB, they had their NOGOF conference and I had an opportunity to speak there and just two day ago, I was also opportuned to speak at the NIMASA mini conference that was held at Eko Hotel, I have not had an opportunity to interact with NAPPIMS yet but I will still do that and I want to say that I am a lucky brand new President in the sense that I have been elected at a time when our industry is hurting but all the people that need to help us have woken up and have risen to the occasion and they stand very ready to help us this business.
“NCDMB, they showed us N15 billion dollars industry spread that is coming on in the next five years, that is not small boys business. In maritime alone, they showed us N3.5 billion dollars that will come in marine spread. That is also not small money and this is not money that is coming from the budget, this is money that must be spent and this money must be domiciled with Nigerians and they are ready to show us the way to this money.
“So, you have elected me at a time when I have to take this opportunity and I want to say to SOAN members that what I intend to do is to ensure that all SOAN members enjoy this money. So, SOAN members get ready, it is time for us to get this money”.
He continued, “I am going to ensure that we form teams in SOAN so that we can together create a focus based group specific on issues, it could be cabotage, it could be CVFF, it could be any kind of problem or differentials in the Dollar and Naira rates, we sit down and get a good depth of what we want to do, understand the problem very well and engage the various stakeholders collectively, continuously with robust and focused engagement to ensure that we negotiate with them, we dialogue with them in a very non-confrontational manner, to be able to get the benefit for our members.
“In SOAN, we are going to ensure a cross-sectorial and inter-association dialogue where we will be able to talk to because you have Master Mariners, you have engineers, you have stevedoring, you have manning companies, all of us are affected when we get into the waters. So, we will be able to extend and create for a where we will be able take our problems exactly to where it belongs.
“We will be able to engage with the Navy now that we have gotten inaugurated, from next week, my executive should get ready, we are going to go on visit to anybody that is anybody to make sure that we can begin to interact with them because this is our industry, this is our business.
“We have a lot of bad loans that are hanging on our necks, we cannot die with these loans, we have the opportunity to pay off all these loans, we have the opportunity to look at other innovative, sustainable methods that we can fund our ships and as a matter of fact, I now go back to the issue of shipping. Shipping stands on three pedestals, the first one is the ship, the second one, of course is the crew, the third one is the contract that will make money and give us the cash flow but I think the most important is the crew. But I want to say that in SOAN and of course, where I am coming from, we take crew very seriously. The fact is that if you do not have good crew, you have no ship and if you do not have ship, you have no NIMASA.
“So, as a matter of fact, the crew, when we train them, need to retrain them and I say to the crew that we see them as members of our family and I want them to understand that if a crew man is to be hired, to work in any of our ships, he must be a nice man and a nice man is the type, as I said before as someone who you can bring home to have dinner with your family.
So, on that note, I want to tell you that I am very happy to take over from my brother. As a matter of fact, he is a wonderful man, he has his own style of leadership and of course, he has assured me that he will not leave me behind. So, I am going to cash in on that and make sure that I take him on that and make sure that we take our association to the moon”.
While describing the media as wonderful having reported the association objectively in its four years of existence, he assured that he was going to work together with them throughout his tenure.
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