The Senate is concerned that the country reportedly loses over $120m annually due to overwhelming patronage of foreign shipping firms in the shipment of petroleum products.
According to The Punch, the upper chamber has, therefore, directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to initiate the processes of patronising and boosting the capacities of Indigenous shipping firms.
The Senate Committee on local content gave the directive after an investigative hearing is conducted with the NNPC management and Ship Owners Association of Nigeria.
The panel was told that the overwhelming preference for foreign firms had resulted in huge revenue losses including some $120m loss to demurrage, every year.
Chairman of the Comvessels, Teslim Folarin, after the meeting, directed that the NNPC should allow local ship owners to operate in the transportation of petroleum products
The committee equally stated that there was a need to help build capacities among indigenous shipping.
He said, “It is very important we patronise Indigenous shipping
“The whole essence of this investigative hearing is not to trade blames.
“We understand that they don’t have enough vessels; they don’t have capacity and capacity cannot come from heaven.
“The GMD here has the capacity to help build capacity. It is very important that we patronise indigenous shipping companies.”
The Senate panel lamented the disregard to the local content act which stipulated among others that local firms be encouraged in the conduct of businesses of any public company businesses.
A member of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, noted that the failure to carry indigenous shipping companies along had dealt a serious economic blow on the country.
Adeola dismissed submissions that Nigerians do not own vessels that could be patronised.
“There are local vessels owned by Nigerians, it depends on the type of vessels we are talking about. There are two types of vessels,” he added.
Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, informed the committee that there were no indigenous vessels to patronise.