By Kenneth Jukpor
The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) Nigeria has condemned the practice of contracting real estate surveyors for valuation and management of ships seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Describing this as a major problem in the country, the immediate-past Chairman of ICS Nigerian Chapter, Mr. Tami Adu made this remark during the Institute’s 5th Anniversary and Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, yesterday.
While stressing that ship brokering is a profession with top-notch professionals in Nigeria, Adu encouraged the government agencies to seek the right professionals when making decisions or consultation for seized ships.
His words: “We have a problem when EFCC and AMCON seize vessels and they are handed over to Real Estate agents to do the work of brokers. ICS should have our dossiers at EFCC, AMCON, Admiralty Courts so that when it is time to dispose vessels they don’t have to call real estate agents who have no idea of what they’re selling. We need to assert ourselves and try to push as much as we can.”
“Presently, the practice is that these agencies would advertise for the seized vessels to be auctioned on behalf of the government and guess who would be called for the auctioning, real estate agents. The agents would present themselves as brokers, but they don’t understand the valuation of vessels. They evaluate it the way they do to buildings they deal with it, but this is the responsibility shipbrokers are saddled with all around the world.”
Adu also opined that Nigerian shipbrokers are the best partners to help the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) with the collection of its 2% Cabotage levy from ship owners.
Noting that the apex maritime agency has been struggling with the valuation and getting indigenous ship owners to pay the Cabotage levy, the veteran shipbroker observed that the troubles will be solved if NIMASA partners shipbrokers.
At the event, which also featured the election of new executives, the newly elected Chairman, Dr. Chris Ebare pledged to provide the political angle required to tackle the numerous challenges limiting ship-brokerage in the country.
Speaking with newsmen, Dr. Ebare said: “We need to be very close to the government of the day particularly, the Ministry of Transportation. The current Minister of Transportation may not know much about the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. He mayn’t know that shipbrokers are actually the ones who call the shots in global shipping. The top-shots at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are members of ICS and we sit on the same table to discuss issues. We attend the same classes for trainings and other meetings.”
According to Ebare, the Nigerian chapter of ICS could partner the Ministry of Transportation and other relevant maritime agencies to exploit ICS members affinity with shipbrokers globally to enable Nigeria secure a seat on the Category C of the IMO Council.
While commending the efforts and commitment of the immediate-past Chairman, Ebare pledged that the new team would build on the successes, even as he set a target to increase membership of the Institute by a minimum of 100 members annually.
“I wish to acknowledge the achievements of our outgoing chairman, Mr. Tami Edu, FICS. Your leadership of the ICS Nigeria Chapter was steady, assured and pragmatic, but most of all, had a clear vision for the changes that the Institute needed. Sir, taking the mantle of leadership at this time is made easier by your groundwork, legacy and good work. I want to also appreciate our efficient team of the Secretariat and our Pioneer Chairman Captain Olanrewaju, FICS, for a solid foundation you laid for ICS Nigeria Chapter. I promise to improve on your good strategy and attain a better Institute that will be result-oriented and suited to the 21st Century,” he said.
He, however, specially commended the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi for showing support to the group and assured that the Institute will make significant contributions to the sector.