Prince Olayiwola Shittu

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Highlights of his interview

Preliminary comments on Nigerian shipping in general; his views of the significance of the NNSL; the forex difficulties of Nigeria to enter ocean shipping now with container ships costing about $50b; the problems of cargo scarcity which hampered NNSL’s continued existence; the operations of the foreign shipping lines which now serve the Nigerian economy; the potential of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to lift indigenous shipping participation; the danger of the CVFF being frittered away in unrelated government expenditures; his sadness at the way NNSL staff and ships were abandoned in different parts of the world when the line was liquidated; the travails of the stranded seafarers; the handicap of vessel scarcity for nautical and engineering graduates of Maritime Academy of Nigeria; comparison with fellow colonized countries such as India and Philippines; place of birth, family identity and early schooling; initial plans for further education at Michigan State University; work experiences in Lever Brothers, Post and Telecommunication; joined the Nigerian Ports Authority in Warri and worked with them until 1984; activities as a trade unionist and how NPA determined his employment as a consequence of this; further education at University of Ibadan, University of Lagos and Edo State University, Ekpoma; in 1990, formed a shipping agency, Skelas Shipping, a shipping agency; got the license for customs clearing agency in 1992; became the President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Clearing Agents (ANLCA) for 8 years; principles undergirding his practice; mentoring activities in the industry; manpower development achievements for the executives of ANLCA, whereby they travelled to more than 15 countries for training in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service officials; the supportive role of the former Customs Comptroller General, Alhaji Inde Dikko, during his tenure as ANLCA President; the major challenges facing operators and prescriptions for remedy; the unforeseen expenses, “unreceiptable”, forced on operators through corruption; the scourge on society foisted by ‘ill-gotten positions’ not valued by the appointed officials; the impunity of bribe-takers; the policies being rolled out such the Ease of Doing Business and the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) to be supervised by the Nigerian Shippers Council versus the challenge of longstanding rot in the industry which must be removed by a fundamental national turnaround; his perception of the malaise working against NNSL before the eventual liquidation; the problems that befell the carrier and why it could not have escaped liquidation; blames ‘Nigerian factor’ for the serial failures of public and private shipping lines in the country; the pitfalls of investing in ocean shipping as a Nigerian operator; the National Fleet Implementation Committee and the need to rebuild Nigeria’s policy on the national maritime carrier project; efforts already made by a coalition of private shipping interests and the likely management problems; the essence of private sector-led participation in the new dispensation.