Internationally revered shipping mogul, Dr. Ravi Kumar Mehrotra has begged the Nigerian authorities to anchor its economy more strongly on shipping, stressing that shipping remains the only global platform which, in addition to solving a future unemployment explosion of 5million youths, still spiral Nigeria unto true greatness.
Dr. Ravi Mehrotra made the statement at the Lagos Civic Centre, during the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) End of the Year Workshop and Dinner Bash, congratulating the Government for a successful pilotage of the economy out of the recession, even as alerted them, that the tasks ahead in still huge.
“Let me greet his Excellency, and the Ministers that are here; I would like to ask one question from you: how will you handle five million youths which come to the market which out full employment?” he asked, highlighting that he flew from London into Nigeria, because of the genuine importance he attached to shipping development in Nigeria.
Speaking as a guru who truly knows his onion, Kumar Mehrotra traced how other great countries of the world, attained their enviable economic heights, highlighting that the magic wand, from US, Japan, China and the rest had been shipping.
“It starts with America after the 1938, the year of the Great Depression, they started building ships, vantage ship a day, and it came handy for the Second World War to supply the goods throughout the world. That was the reason how America became so great.
“Then came Germany and Japan, when, with the Marshal level point, they started building ships on a large scale; then came Japan, then came Korea and so also it was with China; they started building ships”, Mehrotra indicated further, explaining the link between how countries that were hitherto struggling, surged outrageously, with their ports’ GDP of less than $600 to what today reads in $10,000; reasoning that they would probably have remained poor, if they had not used their shipping to optimal advantage.
“So ladies and gentlemen, shipping is the only way Nigeria can move to a middle level industry country and that’s the choice which politicians had to make.
“I came lately when the workshop was going on and I heard of these requirements of subsidy required. I do not believe in subsidies, I operate out of London and no government has supported me anytime, but what is needed for shipping is no taxation. It is only the taxation and a compulsory requirement from the ship-owners who train the people, the youth, for the industry. If you supply these, it will give a multiplying effect on the government to employ the young youth of this world
“So ladies and gentlemen, I would not want to keep you away from your dinner but this is the requirement; this is the golden opportunity for Nigeria to go into shipping and give the first preference to your ship-owners. Let them carry the cargo, give them the support, do not subsidise anything; just give them the cargo support and you will see how they would create wonders from it”, he concluded, praising the authorities for the serious reforms and strategies adopted which culminated in significant reduction of ship berthing from the over 100 days of 1974 in Lagos, to the noteworthy record of the presentations.