Shippers’ Association President, Nicol bags Frontline Media Transparency Award


…Calls for upgrade of Alaba International Market to Technical Institute

The Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) President, Rev Dr. Jonathan Nicol over the weekend bagged the Frontline Media International Transparency Award alongside other distinguished Nigerians for his role in facilitating cargo inflow into the country and pushing for friendly import policies for shippers in Nigeria.

The Award which was preceded by a lecture titled,” Reviving Nigeria’s Ailing Economy: Unlocking the Idle potentials in the Shipping Sector”, delivered by the President, Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun was to mark the 12th Anniversary of the medium.

Speaking at the event, Nicol noted that shippers had been talking about the woes  of the country saying that it was high time Nigerians begin to think about prospects that were abound in the country.

He recalled that at the last Shippers’ Day celebration in Lagos, the shippers drew the attention of the government to the fact that Nigeria had no business being poor adding that poverty was a very backward disease which should not be allowed to be part of the nation.

According to him,” We know that from 2012 to 2016, we have lost the cargoes that ought to have improved the economy of this country and we made the first cry to government that our cargoes were being diverted to other African countries because of policy summersault.

“With the knowledge I have today, I believe strongly that the present government will overturn some of these hard policies and our importers will be happy again”.

He further recalled that when the national shipping lines were up and running, Nigeria had products that the vessels could take from within to other countries  noting that they would support the government and the indigenous shipowners to own ship since the shippers own the cargoes.

“Last year alone, the Nigerian Ports Authority recorded about 45 million tons of cargoes and that is quite enormous, all of that were carried by the foreign shipping lines. If we convey those potentials to our own shipping industry, poverty level will reduce by at least 35%. But the fundamental problem we have, nobody wants to talk about the potentials of Nigeria, what they talk about is how much money they will put in their pockets. All that will stop”, he said.

The SALS President who doubled as the Chairman of the occasion noted that there was a big threat on the head of the popular market in Lagos known as Alaba International market saying that, “ We recommended that government should upgrade the market to a technical institute because there is nothing you will not find in that market”.

He observed that a closer look at the market would reveal self made Nigerians who were improving the economy of the country at their own expense adding that government needed to recognize them and improve their potentials as they take time to labour, study and to manufacture their sets of televisions and radios.

He disclosed that there were those who were well exposed to bring over 30 vessels of different grades in joint venture adding that they were doing all they could to bring such investors into the country.

He said,” Very soon, the shipping industry will take a new shape and we will try to make government realize that we can finance the federal government’s budget because in this sector we generate as much as six trillion. So, we don’t see why the government should travel to China to borrow two billion Dollars. We have the money, we will improve on that potentials”.

Earlier in an address, the Chairman of Frontline Media International, Prof. Peter Ebigbo (EMER) noted that the nation was passing through a phase that appeared to premise hardships in various forms and shapes especially with the global slide in oil prices and the attendant foreign exchange crisis which was incapacitating business of some sort.

Ebigbo advised that in a time like this, it was expected that both the government and the citizenry looked inwards and discover where they had fallen as well as where their strength could again be sustained.

“This for me makes very timely today’s lecture which resonates around “Reviving the Nigerian economy by optimizing the potentials in the potent sectors of the economy especially the shipping sector, solid Mnerals Development and Agriculture.

“The economy of Nigeria no doubt is in a deep mess, there is need to begin as a matter of urgency, exploitation of all natural endowments available in this nation to make for a robust economy. There is no gainsaying the fact that erratic power supply in Nigeria has weakened industrial growth and made latent the power of development inherent in Nigerians as well as chased away investors to neighbouring communities.

“If we must create jobs for our teaming graduates that are produced from our Universities and Polytechnics every year, this is the time for us to brainstorm, embark on soul searching and come out as experts in various field with ideas that can take this nation to the ideal pedestal all of us will be proud of”, he said.

Other recipients of the award included the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, the National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, President of SOAN, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Nigeria Customs Service, PTML command, Mr. Steve Osunkwo among others.

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