There are strong indications that the current economic crisis faced by Greece may truncate a vessel acquisition deal worth over $250 million with some Nigerian ship owners.
Some members of Nigeria Shipowners Association, NISA, had recent signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU with Greek ship owners whereby 40 ships of various tonnages and class will be brought into Nigeria’s Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage trade on a bareboat charter arrangement.
Under the scheme, which is part of the measures by the association to enhance indigenous fleet expansion and boost their participation in the shipping business in the country, the 40 ships would be transferred to Nigerians after two years.
This is in preference to moves by some ship owners from the United States of America, who wanted to make equity investments in some of the thriving Nigerian shipping firms, which most of them turned down.
Meanwhile there are fears that this deal, which is expected to materialise before the end of the year might not come to fruition at least for now due to worsening crisis that tends to cripple the country’s economy.
Some Nigerian ship owners are however skeptical that the transaction might not take effect as scheduled due to the worsening crisis in Greece, which had negatively affected even financial institutions, thus leading to serious cash crunch even for the government.
The Nigerian ship owners are even more worried by the delay in the proposed bail out option by the Euro Zone countries, as both parties have yet to agree on the proposals for reforms that would accompany the bail out.
But President of NISA, Captain Niyi Labinjo, who spoke in a telephone interview, admitted that the crisis might affect the transaction, especially in terms of delays.
He however allayed fears that the current economic crisis in Greece would truncate the deal, saying that nation’s at one time or the other face similar or even worse political and economic crisis.
“The crisis will not stop it but it might affect. The down turn affected the government, banks and to that extent, it might affect the MoU but it cannot stop it entirely”, Labinjo said.
He argued that the down turn has not stopped the country from maintaining the record of accounting for over 18.5 per cent of the global shipping business, adding that though there is a level of economic down turn in Nigeria, it has not stopped the likes of Aliko Dangote from doing business with investors outside the country.
Source: National Mirror