The President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. MkGeorge Onyung, has expressed commitment to creating wealth for members and positioning Nigeria to benefit more from the $1 trillion global shipping industry.
Speaking after a successful election that saw the renewal of his mandate for a second tenure of two years, Onyung said the shipping industry is worth about $1 trillion and Nigerians should earn more from the largesse.
In his acceptance speech, Onyung highlighted how some countries are prospering from global shipping, soliciting the support of relevant stakeholders and government agencies, particularly the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) among others.
He singled out Norway, noting that the country with about 45,000 vessel ownership, despite having only four months of free or unfrozen waters annually, has prospered immensely from global shipping.
He vowed that the SOAN under his watch would engage every relevant stakeholder, government agency, and international operators, to ensure Nigeria optimises its natural environment and endowments.
He, however, stressed the need for the government to disburse the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF), an ‘Esusu’, collected by the government from ship operators, solely for the development of indigenous shipping. He said despite a consistent Esusu collection made in 18 years, the authorities continued to sit still on it.
He assured that members would use the CVFF to buy ships and deploy them in the maritime sector.
He also solicited support from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) urging them to create opportunities for Nigerian Ship owners to lift crude
Director-General, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, who was represented by Olu Adeniyi, urged ship owners to cooperate with the government in its policies to turn the industry around.
President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Tajudeen Alao, urged SOAN to continue on the path of unity and improve local capacity in shipping.
Former Director-General, Chambers of Shipping, Ify Akerele, urged SOAN not to relent in its effort to create a robust maritime sector, calling for collaboration with other groups in order to achieve a common goal.
Onyung was elected unopposed. The new executive members include Eno Williams as 1st Vice President; Sunny Eja, Second Vice President; Iroghama Ogbeifun, Luis Ekere, and Babalola Adefarati.