The creation of a national fleet will end the capital flight and save the nation huge foreign exchange through the lifting of the country’s crude oil export.

Disclosing this at a media breakfast meeting on the sideline of the ongoing Nor-Shipping Conference and Exhibition in Oslo, Norway, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, said such an outcome will end the capital flight, associated with the present arrangement where Nigeria sells its oil on a free-on-board basis to customers and will also lead to employment creation.

The NIMASA boss said the new national fleet will be owned 49 per cent by a technical partner and the balance of 51 per cent by Nigerian investors. According to the plan, the Nigerian investors will hold equity in lots, so there will be no domineering shareholder.

He said the planned national fleet will be private sector led for sustainability and profitability.

The national fleet is part of the country’s new strategic direction on the blue economy, which is designed to tap its maritime potentials.

Peterside invited local and foreign investors who are interested in the project to partner with the country.

He said the country is also taking its maritime security seriously and has invested in the acquisition of security assets to boost the policing of its waters.

These assets include patrol boats, special mission aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vessels and special mission ships.

He noted that the assets, acquired under the ‘Deep Blue Project’, which he calls a homeland security solution, will be operational by September this year with a standing specially trained intervention strike force.

Peterside called on investors to tap into the rich potentials of the maritime sector in Nigeria saying the government has incentivised the sector with offers of tax holidays and institutional support.

He pointed out that Nigeria is an investment-friendly environment with comprehensive maritime security, a robust financial sector, six port complexes and numerous terminals.

He added: “The country accounts for 70 per cent of seaborne trade into West and Central Africa and is endowed with a skilled workforce and the world’s ninth largest hydrocarbon deposits.

“The country is also focusing on implementing reforms to enhance her ease of doing business.”

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