MMS Plus x-rays the activities of transport agencies in the third quarter of 2018. Parastatals in the sector were crippled by the financial constraints with indebtedness even on the most negligible amount of money earlier but the funds were finally released. How did the major agencies in the transport sector fare in the third quarter this year?
For the grading system: A =90-100%, B+ = 80-89%, B =70-79%, C+ =60-69%, C =50-59%, D =40-49% and E = 30-39%, F = 0-30%. Enjoy it:
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)
NIMASA is the agency saddled with the onus of maritime administration and safety; to pursue the development of shipping and regulatory matters relating to merchant shipping and seafaring.
We would appraise NIMASA’s core functions unbundled into ten (10) parts, each carries 10 points:
Administration and regulation of shipping licences:
Despite starting 2018 brightly by inaugurating a Maritime Committee on Nigerian Ship Register, saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that a review is done in ship registration process to ensure that it becomes more attractive to businesses, projects Nigeria’s image positively and ensure that it contributes positively to the nation’s economy; no significant improvement has been recorded in this area and nothing of note was recorded in the last quarter of 2018. Nevertheless the committee chaired by Engineer Emmanuel Ilori submitted its findings to NIMASA and Ilori expressed optimism that the Nigerian ship registry could take a commendable turn in 2019.
Score = 3/10
Administration, Regulation and Certification of Seafarers:
Nothing significant has been observed in this area as lack of Nigerian owned/ flagged vessels means no opportunities for seafarers to obtain the requisite seatime and become employable seafarers. The unfortunate situation led cadets under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) to protest at the entrance of NIMASA headquarters in September.
Score = 2/10
Establishment of Maritime Training and Safety Standards/ Regulation of safety of shipping as regards the construction of ships and navigation:
The dearth of competent officers to play this role remains an impediment, so it was not attended to in the last quarter of 2018.
Score = 0/10
Maritime Search and Rescue Services and Providing direction to ensure compliance with vessels security measures:
Search and rescue operations in the country is yet to improve, with operators lamenting that NIMASA has been unable to render assistance when such services were needed. Some equipments acquired for billions of naira are abandoned at the NIMASA Research Institute, at Kirikiri.
Score = 3/10
Provide Maritime Security:
NIMASA and the international community remain at loggerheads with regards the security of Nigerian waters. The Agency says the globe has an erroneous view of insecurity of the nation’s waters, yet indigenous operators also lament gross insecurity. Piracy and armed robbery at sea continues to hold sway in the nation while operators of seaports in the Eastern part of the country pay huge sums to engage private security or hire Naval officers.
Theoretically, NIMASA has been more vigilant to ensure that port facilities comply with the ISPS code to the extent that it grew compliance level to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code from 13% to 80% but the nation’s waters remain highly insecure.
However, this problem is expected to be addressed with the passage of the Anti-Piracy bill. When would the bill be passed?
Score = 2/10
Enhance and administer the provision of Cabotage Act 2003/ Control and prevent Maritime Pollution:
NIMASA awaits complaints from IMO to figure out if the nation’s waters are indeed polluted, hence operators should probably relax and enjoy the exceptional commendation in all IMO codes concerning the nation’s environment management; despite the obvious fact that Nigerian waters speak dirt and pollution.
Score = 2/10
Develop and implement policies and programs, which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure:
Indigenous operators continue to clamour for better opportunities via local capacity ownership, manning, construction, among others, nevertheless, no programme was organized and no policy developedto address this function so far in 2018.
Score = 0/10
Perform Port and Flag State duties:
This function was characterized by poor service delivery throughout 2018. Let’s hope for a change in 2019 as the NIMASA 2019 forecast predicts more activities in the nation’s maritime sector.
Score = 1/10
NIMASA reached a level where they received IMO commendations for following its conventions especially in compliance to ISPS code but the agency is yet to soar on the massive maritime advantages and cargo traffic in the nation.
Score = 7/10.
Carry out Air and Coastal Surveillance:
NIMASA performed well here but it was probably as a result of the collaboration between the agency, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Airforce. The new approvals for the Nigeria Navy for helicopters that would also cover the areas of search and rescue operations is a welcome development.
Score = 6/10
NIMASA has become more focused as an organization since the emergence of Dr. Dakuku Peterside as the Director General, but the agency needs to spend less energy celebrating menial success as it expended more resources and attention to celebrate frivolities in 2018 while the bulk of the NIMASA job was left undone. A lot is expected from the agency in the first quarter of 2019 and it has started brightly with a more detailed forecast for the maritime sector this year.
Total Score 25/100
Grade F (32%)
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC)
The place of railway in transportation worldwide cannot be overemphasized and the Nigerian government has continued to intensify efforts to ensure that the dream of establishing a railway facility that connects the entire nation becomes a reality.
For the agency’s rating in the last quarter, NRC would be assessed based on five of its statutory functions with twenty marks for each.
Ensure safety of operations and maximum efficiency;
NRC did record few train accidents in the last quarter of 2018 with the Boxing National team losing middleweight Okosun Godwin in a train accident in Lagos.
There are few details about the accident which happened in Lagos and cost his life but according to reports he was on his way to the Myoung Barracks located in Yaba to continue preparations for a fight.
There were other cases of robbery and theft onboard trains in the last quarter of 2018.
Score = 5/20
Manage and operate the railway for carriage of passengers and goods:
The railway management seems to be more technically sophisticated and informed about global best practices in railway management. Operational tactics have improved and the railway transport mode became more popular among Nigerians who still prefer to patronize the road mode to other means of transport.
NRC recorded impressive successes in freight patronage and set back in service delivery on both freight and passengers train in this half.
The NRC management made efforts to provide technical and professional support to other stakeholders, however, there is still the challenge of inefficiency with the narrow gauge because of the conditions of the tracks as confirmed by the Transport Minister.
Despite impressively helping in the decongestion of the Apapa environment from the gridlock with the Lagos district’s commencement of a shuttle service in the face of the ongoing road construction, there were reports of poor attention to customers’ welfare which affected their service delivery.
Score = 12/20
Meet cost of operation; improve market share and quality of services;
There was renewed vigor by the NRC management to ensure improvement in the quality of services to their customers, most especially the freight owners.
Revenue generation is still tasking for NRC as it still finds it very hard to raise enough funds to meet its cost of operation thereby leaving it to the mercy of the Federal Government for bulk of its finances including the payment of workers’ salaries and other related expenses. This is a major burden on the government who still injects billions of naira into the sector without expected return.
New trains and locomotives were commissioned by the president, President Muhammadu Buhari at the Abuja-Kaduna station early in the year to meet up with demands at the stations. The president also recently commissioned the Abuja light train. Although, there was a relative increase in the fare at the Abuja station but, the Director, Operations, Mr. Niyi Alli justified the decision when quizzed by MMS Plus that the quality of services enjoyed by passengers at the station is commeasurable with the fare. The Abuja-Kaduna train was of qualitative services coupled with other customers’ service innovations.
Score = 6/20
Direct and control of any expansion or extension of the railway and the construction of new railway:
Buhari’s administration has set three major standard gauge rail lines for completion before the end of their tenure. These rail lines; Lagos-Kano, Lagos-Calabar, Port Harcourt- Maiduguri is estimated to cost $46 million according to the Minister for Transportation, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi and the project is expected to be executed in partnership with China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and other investors who key into the project in the nearest future.
The Transport Minister, Hon Rotimi Amaechi identified some challenges hindering the rail projects to include; water pipes, NNPC pipes carrying crudes and gas and petroleum on the right of way especially in Lagos heading towards the Apapa seaport, etc.
Score = 6/20
Meet social responsibility in a manner that will meet the requirements of rail users, trade, commerce, industry and general public:
NRC failed to meet the requirements of rail users, trade, commerce, and others. This is because of capacity constraints and neglect by government in the past and the existing railway act which is preventing the input of private investors.
There are still delays and non-adherence to time schedules without explanations in railway services in Nigeria especially in Lagos.
The DMU which is the standard coach and locomotive is still not affordable to the common man. There are some interventions and dispositions to corporate social responsibilities by NRC in the first half of the year.
Score = 6/20
The additional Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) locomotives and other modern facilities newly commissioned at the Kaduna-Abuja station and Abuja light train shows the government’s commitment to the railway revitalization project. Nevertheless, government is expected to address the issues of low capacity and poor customers’ welfare which has constituted a major setback in the sector. The demands for both passengers and freight services are still beyond the delivery of NRC.
Total Score = 42/100
Grade E (35%)
Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CRFFN)
CRFFN was established to address the complexities and global demands in the import and export business as it relates to freight forwarders and clearing agents. The agency is saddled with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the practice of freight forwarding, ensuring optimum standards and professional conduct of practitioners.
In the last quarter of 2018, one of the major challenges facing the agency – the absence of a Governing Council – has been addressed with the successful elections of practitioners into the board.
However, CRFFN’s performance in the first half would be assessed based on five identified statutory functions below with each function carrying 20 marks.
Accrediting, regulating and controlling associations of freight forwarders to ensure professionalism in the industry:
The inauguration of the Governing Council took place in the last quarter of 2018 with the Governing Council going on to hold several fruitful meetings expected to improve the regulations but no significant change occurred during the timeframe.
Score = 5/20
To determine who constitute freight forwarders and to regulate and control the activities of registered practitioners:
While the number of registered freight forwarders continues to increase, a large chunk of freight forwarding practitioners still don’t have CRFFN certification, hence the difficulties in regulating their activities.
Score = 5/20
Ensuring uniform standards of professional conduct and education relevant to freight forwarding practice:
In the last quarter of 2018, CRFFN made no effort to enlighten practitioners on the global best practices in the profession.
Score = 0/20
Encourage participation in international exchange programme and promoting the highest competence, practice and conduct among members:
There was no event or programme in 2018 year to promote the objectives above.
Score = 2/20
Establishment and maintenance of registers of persons entitled to practice as registered freight forwarders and the publication from time to time of the list of such persons:
Although the names of registered freight forwarders were collated for the purpose of the Governing Council elections, CRFFN should be prompt in publishing updated registers to keep the importers, exporters and the general public abreast of qualified persons to consult for freight forwarding practice.
Score = 4/20.
Following the peaceful constitution and inauguration of a new CRFFN board, one can expect things to transform positively at the Council even as the Council has been unbundled into several committees tasked with specific duties that would enhance the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria. Expect a productive first quarter in 2019.
Total Score = 16/100
Grade F (16%)