The newly elected President, Ship owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung, has called on ship owners in the country to be ready to take advantage of the planned investment of $3.5 billion (N1.26 trillion) in ship acquisition by the Nigerian Contents Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Also, he said the net spend in the industry in Nigeria in the months ahead would reach $15 billion calling on ship owners to use the opportunity to revive their business and take the industry to new heights.
Onyung stated this during the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected executives of the association in Lagos.
He said: “Last week, we went to NCDMB, they had a conference and I had an opportunity to speak there and just two day ago, I was also opportune to speak at the NIMASA mini conference that was held in Lagos.
I have not had an opportunity to interact with NAPPIMS yet but I will still do that and I want to say that I am a lucky brand new president in the sense that I have been elected at a time when our industry is hurting but all the people that need to help us have woken up and have risen to the occasion and they stand very ready to help us in this business.
“At the just concluded NOGOF training NCDMB showed us $15 billion industry spread that is coming on in the next five years. In maritime alone, they showed us $3.5 billion that will come in marine spread. That is also not small money and this is not money that is coming from the budget. This is money that must be spent and this money must be domiciled with Nigerians and they are ready to show us the way to this money.
“So, you have elected me at a time when I have to take this opportunity and I want to say to SOAN members that what I intend to do is to ensure that all SOAN members enjoy this money. So, SOAN members get ready, it is time for us to get this money.”
Onyung therefore, called for synergy among members in ensuring that problems facing ship owners are resolved through team efforts.
“I am going to ensure that we form teams in SOAN so that we can together create a focus based group specific on issues, it could be cabotage, it could be Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), it could be any kind of problem or differentials in the Dollar and Naira rates, we sit down and get a good depth of what we want to do, understand the problem very well and engage the various stakeholders collectively, continuously with robust and focused engagement to ensure that we negotiate with them, we dialogue with them in a very non-confrontational manner, to be able to get the benefit for our members.
“In SOAN, we are going to ensure a cross-sectorial and inter-association dialogue where we will be able to talk to because you have Master Mariners, you have engineers, you have stevedoring, you have manning companies, all of us are affected when we get into the waters,” he said.
He added: “So, we will be able to extend and create for a where we will be able take our problems exactly to where it belongs. We will be able to engage with the Navy now that we have gotten inaugurated, from next week, my executive should get ready, we are going to go on visit to anybody that is anybody to make sure that we can begin to interact with them because this is our industry, this is our business.”