The Federal Government has said it is ready to grant approval to indigenous shipping firms to export crude oil and stem the nation’s huge capital flight.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Maritime Services, Olugbenga Oyewole, spoke about the planned approval for local shipping firms to move crude oil recently at the unveiling of two high-capacity oil vessels in Warri, Delta State. An indigenous firm, Ocean Marine Tankers, which owns the two vessels, has also applied to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency for a national carrier status, according to the top government officials, But before the approval, which NIMASA promised to facilitate in few weeks, the vessels would supply crude oil to the Warri and Kaduna refineries, they said.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said the government was committed to the full implementation of the Cabotage Law and the Nigerian Content Law, which provide that 50% of government’s cargoes should be carried by Nigerian vessels.
Nigeria is said to have lost over $100billion in five decades by allowing its crude oil to be carried exclusively by foreign owned tankers. This is coming 17 years after the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line, which paved the way for only foreign marine tankers to move the nation’s crude oil.