The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has stressed the need for Nigerian cargoes to be freighted by the country’s businessmen to promote indigenous participation in maritime space, diversification and increase in the international shipping trade.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said this on Thursday, December 3, in Abuja at the NIMASA special day at the ongoing 15th Abuja International Trade Fair.

In a paper presentation titled “Trade and Commerce Beyond Borders,” Jamoh, who was represented by the Head, Shipping Promotions Unit, Momoh Alhassan, said that for trade and commerce beyond borders to be achieved, there must be a larger participation by indigenous freight forwarders.

“Nigeria has cargoes and these cargoes should be carried by Nigerians to promote indigenous participation in the maritime space.

“It will further promote diversification and increase in international shipping trade, such as the exportation of available products which, when we utilise the capability in the country, will reduce importation of goods and services.

“It will conserve foreign exchange and curtail capital flight which will contribute to GDP growth and economic stability.”

Jamoh explained that the National Shipping Policy, established under decree 10, 1987, stipulated that Nigerians should have a right of freight. He noted that the right of freight must be up to 50 per cent of all dry cargo originating from international commercial ventures of local, state and the Federal Governments.

He added that section 37, sub-section six, of the act also stipulated that the agency would determine an efficient strategy for the participation of national carriers in the carriage of crude and petroleum products to and fro Nigeria.

He further said that the Nigeria Content Development Act of 2010, was also aimed at ensuring that a substantial proportion of activities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry was domiciled within the country.

“This covers both upstream and downstream sectors of the sector. These acts and policies that are favourable to indigenous players on the oil and gas sector shall be replicated in other sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals which have huge demand potential in global trade.”