Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has blamed stakeholders in the maritime sector for the country’s inability to own a national shipping line.

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Amaechi said unless Nigerians provide 60 percent of the investment as required by law, establishing a national shipping line would not be realisable.

Amaechi said the law requires that 60 percent of the funding be provided by Nigerians while the remaining 40 percent be contributed by foreigners. He said the plan has become practically impossible due to the unwillingness of major players in the maritime industry to raise such amount.

Amaechi made the disclosure at a thanksgiving service to mark the 71st birthday celebration of the Chairman, Starzs Investment Company Limited, Engr. Gregory Utomwen Ogbeifun, in Benin, Edo state, Saturday.

Amaechi said though a foreign firm had assured of providing 100 percent of the money required for setting up the shipping line, he would not grant such approval as doing so would amount to flouting the law.

Hear him, “For not having a national shipping line, some stakeholders in the maritime sector think that I may not have done well. The law setting up a national shipping line says that Nigerians would provide 60% of the investment and foreigners will provide 40%.

“So, I went to Singapore, got a company that accepted to bring the 40%, but unfortunately, till today, no Nigerian has been able to provide the remaining 60%. The company had said to me that they would bring all the 100% and hire some Nigerians as stakeholders, but I disagreed because that would amount to breaking the law.

“There is also a company in Dubai that said they would set up the national shipping line by providing the 100%, but I have told them that the law only allows them (foreigners) to provide 40%.

“Unless we amend the law to enable us allow foreigners to own 60% of the investment and employ Nigerians, but as the law is today, there is no way a foreigner can have 100%. As a minister, my job is not to bring the money but to create an enabling environment for business to thrive”, Amaechi explained.