…NPA, NIMASA, Stakeholders in 2-day brainstorming session***
Stakeholders’ prayers of seeing Nigeria emerge a shipbuilding country, in addition to curtailing huge capital flight by repairing her own vessels may have been answered, as Nigerian firm operating on international vision sets the state.
The Maritime Media learnt that while the initiative was kept from the prying eyes of the media, relevant stakeholders and government agencies which included the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency have met and brainstormed, identifying challenges and bottlenecks; in addition to proffering solutions.
A key participant and member of the project evaluation Team, Brendan Dumpe who was cornered in Lagos confirmed the meeting, modestly highlighting the multiplier effects the project would have not only in terms of significantly improved taxes to the government, but also a serious boost in terms of youths employment opportunities.
Dumpe who is also the General Manager, STARZS Marine and Engineering Ltd said he was particularly glad that once the shipbuilding and repair yard comes midstream, youth restiveness would be tinkered with, particularly in the Niger Delta.
He also confirmed that the team of experts working to midwife the initiative has appointed a highly revered, internationally recognised Transactions Advisor, even though he declined to give details.
“Let me start by saying that this project that Starz Marine and Engineering Limited is about to embark on, is a project that is very, very needed in the Nigerian economy, in the sense that the government by their policy statement has shown that they want to start developing shipbuilding activities in Nigeria; and from what we have seen, this project incorporates ships building in Nigeria.
” It is also common knowledge that the ship repairs facilities in Nigeria are already moribund and there is a dearth of infrastructure in the industry to address ship repairs; and as a result of this, most of the ship repair jobs are taken out of Nigeria, which is capital flight, a thing that is not in the best interest of this country.
“With this project coming on stream, it is going to reduce capital flight out of this country and ensure that Nigerians can be able to begin the repair of their own vessels, or go beyond the repairs of the Nigerian vessels; to also attract investments and jobs from other vessels from outside the country to Nigeria.
“So the first thing the government is going to gain because of these activities is that taxes will improve and there will be a stoppage of capital flight out of the country.
“Secondly, the project is going to create a lot of employment opportunities.
“Currently, we have at least over a hundred staff, direct and indirect staff: and of course, we have in the past twenty years trained more than 1000 people from different aspects of the Maritime Training Institutions in Nigeria.
” With the project now, even moving from the 500 tons capacity already reached, to 7,500 tons, you can agree with me that the required man-power for this project will be more than double, it is estimated to employ 2000 direct staff and 1000 indirect staff.
“So, automatically this will create a lot employment opportunities for our people, there will opportunities for technology transfer in shipbuilding, meaning that Nigerians can begin to say that we are also a shipbuilding nation.
“Who says Nigeria cannot build ships and export to other African countries that are beginning to develop their oil and gas industries, just as currently, South-Africa is supplying Nigeria with almost all security patrol vessels and crew vessels that are in the Nigerian waterways, …
“And of course, it is not like they have anything better than we have.
“So, with this project coming on stream, this will address some of these issues and of course people roaming the streets, whether the project will provide opportunities for training is certain.
“Of course, we will need humans to come in for welding, fabrication, carpentry, electrical issues and even artisans.
“It will provide a huge training platform for these people to be gainfully employed. And when they are gainfully employed, the social menace and all of these issues we find in our street will be greatly reduced, especially within the Niger Delta area, where this project is being located”, he indicated further.