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By Sylvanus Obasi.
The Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman have both applauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration for providing enabling local content policy that supports indigenous participation in oil and gas businesses in Nigeria.
Speaking in Port Harcourt last Friday while performing the official christening of the nation’s latest addition to the Starzs Group fleet of ships, MV OSANYAMO, Governor Obaseki stated that the federal government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) provided an Intervention fund which made it possible for indigenous ship owners to assess the fund in order to buy ships to be able to participate in oil & gas business in Nigeria.
It should be known that NCDMB through its Intervention fund provided 5% equity support for the acquisition of the vessel by Starzs Investment Company Ltd.
Governor Obaseki who confessed it was his first time christening a ship, commended Starzs for thriving in a foreign dominated maritime industry.
“I feel really privileged that I am performing for the first time in my life, the christening of a vessel. I have never done it before.
“Overtime, the maritime industry, in spite of the supports it had received, such as the Cabotage Law, and the Local Content Law, has continued to be dominated by foreign companies.
“Apart from the brief spell when we had the NNSL which offered Nigerians sea opportunities in the maritime industry. As we know, just like most other assets, that endeavor failed. And as a country, we lost that opportunity to build the human capacity and resources to go ahead to dominate”, the governor revealed.
He added that with the commitment of the current government, and the efforts of some indigenous companies like Starzs, there was hope that the Nigerian maritime sector could be revived.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman commended President Buhari’s commitment towards diversifying Nigerian economy.
According to her, “I am particularly happy to be here today and have the pleasure to commission this newly acquired vessel, MV Osanyamo this afternoon. This event is another testament of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to the improvement of Nigerian economy, not just by diversification, but by providing enabling environment for the private sector to invest more in the country.
“It is also gratifying to see the commitment of Starzs Marine Limited to the Nigerian content requirements of the federal government, to the extent that it can boast of having 100% competent Nigerian crew in their entire fleet of vessels. This is commendable”, she noted.
Speaking further, the NPA boss commended Starz Investment Company Ltd for the success of her cadetship training programme, which she said is in line with federal government commitment to in-house capacity development.
“And indeed the ongoing cadetship training of the company is boosting the capacity development of Nigeria to take charge of its maritime sector, which is critical to the capacity of any maritime sector in the world. This further aligns with the determination of this administration to develop in-house capacity and permanently put Nigeria on the frontline of global maritime business.
“In addition to this, the introduction of MV Osanyamo, has added the in-country capacity for oil exploration and production in Nigeria. The vessel ASD Tug 5114 Model has a primary purpose to assist in tanker lifting alongside FPSOs in the Gulf of Guinea.
The NPA helmsman also praised Starzs and Total E&P for working together to achieve the feat, even as she assured stakeholders of better days ahead in the Nigerian maritime sector.
“As I congratulate Starzs Marine Ltd and Total E & P for this epoch venture, I want to restate the Commitment of NPA to you and indeed to the Nigerian maritime sector that together we can achieve much, and the world will be proud of Nigeria maritime development in the African continent”, she restated.