Refocus on maritime, agriculture, stakeholders beg Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

… Amidst crude oil price volatility

The President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was at the weekend advised by industry watchers, to refocus, more strongly on the maritime industry as well as the agricultural sectors as the panacea to the nation’s economic woes may no longer come from crude oil sale.

David Mark
David Mark

The advice came, just as unfolding indication showed that the US, formerly the nation’s most celebrated crude buyer was presently adopting measures that could see her, exporting not less than 1.5 million barrels per day to our current customers in Asia and Europe.

Speaker, Tambuwal
Speaker, Tambuwal

“If a man sees a meaningful hand writing on the wall, and begins to ask whether the writer is Greek or Portuguese, such distraction would only increase the contextual dangers”, explained an importer, Emmanuel Adegbola, pointing out that Nigerians were not hungry, before the advent of crude oil!

“We still have time now. We are already moving in the right direction in agric; what is required now is for Mr. President to summon an emergency stakeholders meeting in maritime.

“One thing that makes me glad is that Nigerians are never lazy people. We are hard working and ingenious people with brains, skills and talents. The President should divert his attention now to the Maritime sector, and watch Nigerians create new alternative to crude oil”, he posited.

Speaking in the same manner, Anthony Emeordi stressed the need for the implementation of the recommendations of Presidential Summit on Maritime, which emanated after the brainstorming session between the Presidency and Maritime stakeholders, pointing out that the document may provide the great future, that had so far eluded us.

But another respondent who spoke anonymously, pleaded with the members of the National Assembly to totally support the President now, in his bid to find alternative funding, explaining that any attempt at rushing to raise loans at the international market, would not be in the people’s interest.

“I expect the law makers to offer the President its total support now. This is not the time for any politics of threat, intimidation or of impeachment. This is the time all hands must be deck, in the nation’s interest. This is the time we must close all loopholes, while harnessing whatever we have, particularly in the shipping sector”, he said, noting that the country must adopt measures now, which would ensure Nigeria’s participation in local and international shipping.

It is generally assumed that the country is currently losing over N1 trillion, annually for her mediocre shipping policies.

In the meantime, there are strong indications that a good percentage of the nearly 2 million barrels being produced in West Texas per day, may soon begin to inch its way into the global market, once the last aspects of the US law which had hitherto bared it were lifted.

The Editor of Energy and Capital magazine, Keith  Kohl perhaps captured it more succinctly when he said the citizens were already salivating at the prospects.

“If you read our blogs and articles regularly, you know we talk about exports quite a bit.

“And now that 2015 is officially upon us, we are salivating at the prospects for U.S. energy this year… and it all has to do with exports”, he indicated, pointing out that the US producers were genuinely eyeing “to take advantage of high natural gas prices in Asia (especially post-Fukushima Japan) and Europe, where gas costs about three times more than it does in the U.S.”.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s crude oil export to Europe and Asia statistics, two of the country’s key markets in the absence of the US have also reportedly  declined by 6.6 million barrels in September; thereby  further reducing the country’s oil revenue.

The statistics made available by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation  showed that the slide in oil prices, which began in June 2014 when prices peaked at $115 per barrel, had resulted in the significantly decline of the country’s oil revenue.