..As Shippers’ association wants state govts to boost cocoa production
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello On Monday shed light on the observed Government’s inaction on issues concerning ‘national fleet, stressing that background activities are currently being fine tuned, to ensure a viable and sustainable national fleet is finally midwifed.
Bello indicated this in Abuja, noting that the committee set up to midwife the establishment of the national fleet was indeed, still working on other components, relating with industries that would support it.
“On the national carrier, people think it is just to go and buy ships or to have a national fleet is to go and plug them somewhere, our national fleet implementation committee has been working very hard.
“We want to create a sustainable national fleet, we want to create a national fleet that will work, not the one that will just come and go, so we are thinking of other industries that will support it.
“We are talking about ship repair, ship yard, we are also talking about cleaning up with NIMASA, cleaning up the national registry, we are talking about reforms in the Nautical College at Oron, Delta, all these are what will support the national fleet.
“You don’t just bring one ship and say this is national fleet, without supporting collateral industry to support the national fleet,” he said.
Commenting on the National Transport Commission Bill, Bello said it was one of the major reform bills in the sector, which would encourage private sector participation in the industry.
“The various reform bills in the transport industry will make for greater participation in the private sector, it will free transport from bureaucracy and allow transport to make a profound impact on the national economy.
“So, the national transport commission is supposed to regulate interest; it is an economic regulator, a multi-sector that will guide the entrance and exit.
“It improves competition, it will safe-guard standard and also look over the pricing. Now if we look at all these things, it is what Nigerian Shippers Council has been doing.
“One thing about this bill is that it has the total support of the Minister of Transportation, it has more importantly total support of stakeholders in the industry,” the executive secretary stated further.
Meanwhile, the Rivers/Bayelsa Shippers Association (RIBASA), on Sunday advised states with the comparative advantage to intensify efforts to boost cocoa production.
The Chairman of the association, Mr Offon Udoffia, indicated this in Abuja, stressing that increased cocoa production would increased the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the states concerned.
He said that cocoa had the capacity to rescue states from deficit and it was imperative for them to galvanise their economic policies for self sufficiency.
“Ondo, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and other cocoa producing states should invest more in cocoa production.
”These states stand the chance of driving viable economy derived from cocoa export than others, Udoffia said.
Citing Mataysia, Udoffia said that agriculture had the capacity to grow the Nigerian economy.
He explained that investment in cocoa would not only rescue the states from economic insolvency, but create jobs for unemployed youths.
According to him, state will not have to over depend on federal allocation if cocoa production and export are prioritised.
He said that cocoa had the capacity of being transformed into several finished products for economic stability.
The Western Region was once known for cocoa production.