The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) has said that it will intensify efforts at getting the federal government to grant more concessions which it said may be in the form of 100 per cent duty waiver for industries.
The President of the association, Rev. Jonathan Nicol who made declaration while speaking at an event to mark the 1st Shippers’ Day Celebration in Lagos with the theme,” Working Towards A New Port Order: The Journey So Far”, also called for the re- establishment of Price Control Board.
While recalling that there were 33 known minerals Nigeria was endowed with, Nicol however expressed the need for these minerals to be properly harnessed to improve the revenue base of the nation.
He recalled that in the 70s, Nigeria’s crude oil was sold at $13 per barrel with the government saving $10 and spending $10 for budgetary purposes yet the economy was robust and viable suggesting that $10 be set aside as reserve fund which should not be shared by any arm of the government.
According to him,” there had been a gross mismanagement of resources in our country; we will help to bring a different consciousness in this respect. If our Naira is facing challenges elsewhere, it should be able to care for her citizens appropriately”.
“Therefore, the Price Control Board should be re-established. Emphasis must be total on aggressive farming in all the states of the federation; warehousing and preservation of our products should be achieved. Shippers Association is always available to act as an instrument of hope in all segment of the maritime community. Encourage ownership of vessels by Nigerians, reintroduce barges for evacuation of cargo as it used to”.
He further disclosed that in the nearest future, it would be the focus of the association to assist the Nigerian government as it had always done as according to him, “exports will be vigorously pursued, industries will be encouraged, import will continue to come but agriculture, enhanced and export of agro-allied products, revamping and construction of cottage refineries and byproducts will be pursued”.
Speaking in his opening address, the Chairman of the occasion, Otunba Kunle Folarin underscored the Nigerian import and export as the basis for Nigeria’s economic development adding that the nation’s commerce and industry could only thrive if the government could improve on the Nigeria’s balance of payment position.
Folarin who is also the Chairman, Ports Consultative Council observed that Nigeria and Nigerians were challenged to look for a new economic order nay a new maritime sector that would be recognized as an economic agenda.
“We must be looking for a new economic agenda and precisely, the maritime sector will offer this particularly at this time when we are in a dire position with the dwindling resources from the oil and gas”
“I subscribe to that feeling that there must be a new port order. I made an overview of the Nigerian maritime sector to look at the shipping and international trade as our next economic agenda because the port is there because there is commerce. The port is there because there is shipping and shipping is there because there is cargo and the cargo is there because somebody has shipped the cargo in and out of the country. Therefore, the Shippers’ Association is in charge of the new economic order”, he said.
Otunba Folarin recalled that the Nigeria’s trade term currently is Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) for import while it is Free On Board for export which according to him is detrimental to the growth of business in Nigeria even as he said that the commercial trade terms needed to change.
Highlights of the occasion were interactive session, induction of new members and conferment of the association’s Patronship on Otunba Kunle Folarin, presentation of awards to deserving personalities and cutting of the anniversary cake.