By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed its readiness to support local fleet owners to enjoy greater patronage and participation in the oil and gas maritime business in Nigeria.
Malam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, disclosed this while playing host to members of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee who paid a working visit to the NNPC Towers in Abuja, on Friday.
He said with the scale of the corporation’s activities in the maritime sector, NNPC would get more active in the affairs of the Fleet Management Committee.
This, he said, would help in strengthening the synergy between the corporation and the private sector.
“We believe in this process, we will ensure that Nigerian ships enjoy a greater patronage in the business henceforth,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Mr Hassan Bello, said Nigeria was losing 1.9billion dollars to foreign ship owners annually.
Bello appealed to the GMD to encourage NNPC subsidiaries to always engage indigenous shipping companies in their businesses.
Also, he urged NNPC to grant local shipping companies the right of first refusal in crude oil lifting contracts.
Bello said that the committee was set up three years ago by the Federal Ministry of Transportation with a mandate to promote Nigerian ownership of ships and vessels, to enable local companies to take control of the shipping business.
This, he said, was in line with the economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.