Nigerian Shippers’ Council Advocates For More Women Participation in Shipping

By Sandra Chukwunyere

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has called for active participation of more women in maritime and  shipping business in Nigeria.
The council equally call for the establishment of National Fleet that would go along way in helping the  federal government in it’s economic diversification programme. It further said that it is convinced
and sure that if efforts are channeled towards establishing a national fleet for nation, that there is no doubt such would be the nation’s foreign exchange earnings, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 
Assuring Nigerians that the industry still remains the only assurance to boosting the contribution of the industry.

Speaking at this year’s Day of the Seafarer celebration in Lagos on Tuesday, theme: ” ON BOARD WITH GENDER EQUALITY”
  the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barr.
Hassan Bello stressed the need for the federal government to accelerate action on the establishment of a national fleet for the interest of
the national economy.

Bello noted that national fleet establishment would no doubt change the current poor contribution of 0.05 per cent from the shipping
sector
”Nigeria spent about $9 bi “Some of the benefits Nigeria will derive
from a national fleet will be to stem and preserve the outflow of
foreign exchange for the carriage of the nation’s cargoes. Enhance
the
development of the Nigerian maritime industry with significant
contribution to the GDP. At present, shipping contributes a paltry 0.05 per cent to GDP. In other countries such as Greece, it is 3.6 per cent and the United Kingdom 0.2 per cent.”“In the international carriage of goods, Nigeria does not have a single ship, so all what we have been doing is slave for foreign ships. About $9 billion and rising is what we pay, not for Nigerian ships but ships elsewhere. Imagine what the earnings of freight will do, if these are Nigerian ships? When we talk of Nigerian ships, we are also talking about our Nigerian banks,
insurance companies, mariners, seafarers, surveyors and our seamen. All these are not gaining because we don’t have ships.”

Still on  the issue of women participation, he said: ”So the issue is not actually whether women are going to be employed but on what ships. We need to have those ships before women are employed.“The
national fleet issue is also important to us. We ought to have Nigerians owning and operating ships, we have lost a lot of money on freight to foreign companies, billions of dollars, if we are the ones having
that, the billions we earn in freight will at least have effect on our
economic growth, employment and open up ancillary services. We
are talking about ship yards, ship repair yards; we are also talking
about our flag administration, nautical colleges, having trained
seafarers to do that.“The national fleet is three-year so that we can
have it in Nigeria, but to do that, there are so many so laws and
policies that you have to review that is what the fleet is doing, there
are also incentives we have to offer private sector. Don’t forget that
the national fleet is private sector led, government will not put a
kobo, but the government will have to look at laws, policies that
militate against investment especially in that sector. We are talking
about tax holidays and relaxing of certain procedures, and overall
conducive atmosphere for that investment to thrive”.For women
participation, the NSC’s chief executive  called for more
participation of women in seafaring, hinting that only two percent of world seafarers were women.

“The reason for the low percentage of women in seafaring is
understandable. It ranges from the harsh working environment in
the sea to issues such as sexual harassment, gender discrimination and inappropriate comments. Section 17 of the Nigeria constitution
states that every citizen should have equal right before the law,
despite this catalytic provision, it has implementation will change
the current poor contribution of 0.05 per cent from the shipping
sector to GDP.He also said that having a national fleet would
preserve the outflow of foreign exchange in the area of economic
diversification agenda as it will create room for various ancillary
services with massive employment
for Nigerians.

Bello told newsmen, “Some of the benefits Nigeria would derive from a national fleet will be to stem and preserve the outflow of foreign
exchange for the carriage of the nation’s cargoes. Enhance the
development of the Nigerian maritime industry with significant
contribution to the GDP. At present, shipping contributes a paltry 0.05 per cent to GDP. In other countries such as Greece, it is 3.6 per cent and the United Kingdom 0.2 per cent.
“In the international carriage of goods, Nigeria does not have a single ship, so all what we have been doing is slave for foreign ships. About $9 billion and rising is what we pay, not for Nigerian ships but ships elsewhere. Imagine what the earnings of freight will do, if these are Nigerian ships? When we talk of Nigerian ships, we are also talking about our Nigerian banks, insurance companies, mariners, seafarers, surveyors and our seamen. All these are not gaining because we
don’t have ships. So the issue is not actually whether women are
going
to be employed but on what ships. We need to have those ships
before women are employed.“The national fleet issue is also
important to us. We ought to have Nigerians owning and operating
ships, we have lost a lot of money on freight to foreign companies,
billions of dollars, if we are the ones having that, the billions we
earn in freight will at least have effect on our economic growth,
employment and open up ancillary services. We are talking about
ship yards, ship repair yards; we are also talking about our flag
administration, nautical colleges, having trained seafarers to do that.
“He reason for the low percentage of women in seafaring is
understandable. It ranges from the harsh working environment in
the sea to issues such as sexual harassment, gender discrimination and inappropriate comments. Section 17 of the Nigeria constitution
states that every citizen should have equal right before the law,
despite this catalytic provision, it has not been easy for women to
fight gender discrimination”.
L-R , Executive Secretary of the NSC, Barr. Hassan Bello, NIMASA Board Chairman,, Jonathan India Garba , the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, the Representative of the Managing Director NPA, the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr. Sokonte Davies and other Stakeholders during the 2019 Seafarer’s Day in Lagos.

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