The Senate Committee on local content on Tuesday decried the disregard to the local content act in shipment of petroleum product into the country which according to reports has resulted in annual revenue loss of over $120m.

Worried over the huge economic loss, the Senate Committee at its sitting on Tuesday directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to initiate the processes of patronising and boosting the capacities of Indigenous shipping firms.

The Senate Committee on local content gave the directive after an investigative hearing it conducted with the NNPC management and Ship Owners Association of Nigeria.

The panel was told that the overwhelming preference for foreign firms had resulted in huge revenue losses including some $120m loss to demurrage, every year.

Chairman of the Comvessels, Teslim Folarin, after the meeting, directed that the NNPC should allow local ship owners operate in transportation of petroleum products

The committee also stated that there was need to help build capacities among indigenous shipping.

He said, “It is very important we patronise Indigenous shipping firms.

“The whole essence of this investigative hearing is not to trade blames.

“We understand that they don’t have enough vessels; they don’t have capacity and capacity cannot come from heaven.

“The GMD here has capacity to help build capacity. It is very important that we patronise indigenous shipping companies.”

The Senate panel lamented the disregard to the local content act which stipulated among others that local firms be encouraged in the conduct of businesses of any public company businesses.

A member of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, noted that the failure to carry indigenous shipping companies along had dealt serious economic blow on the country.

Adeola dismissed submissions that Nigerians do not own vessels that could be patronised.

“There are  local  vessels  owned  by Nigerians, it  depends  on the  type  of vessels  we are  talking  about. There are two types  of vessels,” he added.

Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari , informed the committee that there was no indigenous vessels to patronise.

He said, “I am going to work to support these companies. We will engage our partners.”

By Peace Obi

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