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NIMASA DG’s Contributions to Development of Maritime , Nigeria’s Economy

NIMASA DG’s Contributions to Development of Maritime , Nigeria’s Economy

Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

 Despite that Dr Dakuku Peterside  became  the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) just over a year ago,  he  has  nevertheless enunciated measures that have repositioned the organisation and made it to have a more positive impact on the maritime sector and the economy, says Shola Fadeyi in this write- up.

The ongoing management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by Dr Dakuku Peterside  as the  Director General has indeed  proved right the aphorism, which says  it is not how long but how well,  sequel to the very  meaningful contributions it has made  to the  development of the Agency, the maritime sector and the economy   within about 15  months of its existence.

The general believe in the maritime sector is that Dr Peterside  has to a large extent delivered on his pledge on assumption of office, to harness the vast potential available in NIMASA   to make Nigeria a maritime hub in the West and Central Africa sub- region for the fact that he has focused majorly on the implementation of the agency’s core mandate.

Effective Management

Stakeholders are of the view that he has reasonably succeeded at promoting the development of indigenous capacity in international and coastal shipping as well as effectively regulated the maritime industry    through the  three- year  medium term strategic  growth plan of reformation, restructuring and repositioning  of the agency and the maritime sector which he enunciated in July last year.

Apart from the fact that the blueprint  was in line  with the ‘change’ agenda of the President Buhari’s administration meant to diversify Nigeria’s economy, the fact of its success was brought to the fore   when the President  himself  recently  acknowledged the agency’s  performance under  Dr  Peterside  , especially his fight against sea piracy through interagency cooperation .

Hosting of AAMA/ Rebranding of NIMASA

Thus President Buhari and maritime  experts were agreed that the very modest contributions which the NIMASA DG has made to the development of the agency and the maritime sector  informed Nigeria’s hosting of the Association of  Africa’s Maritime Administrators(AAMA)  Conference in Abuja recently  while the subsequent election of  Peterside was  an affirmation of his achievements in NIMASA.

While the rebranding of the agency , through the unveiling of its new logo in Abuja by  President Buhari has infused a new dose of energy into the NIMASA brand, the   multiplier effect of the hosting has  also contributed largely  to enhance the chances of Nigeria’s to return to Council at IMO at the Category C level a position to which NIMASA  has received the approval  of the Presidency to seek election into.

 Achievements

Despite that he became the Director General at a time when the  number of visiting vessels and volume of cargoes have reduced  sharply due to recession and fiscal policies , he has  been able to  administer  the agency  effectively for the fact that he has drawn from his wealth of experience in politics  and the legislature, utilized his array of  connections in political circles as well his managerial acumen and intelligence.

This it is believed has explained his successes in the areas of human  capacity building for the agency’s personnel, vis avis the implementation of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP),Search  and Rescue, the development of shipping , maritime security and safety, Anti – Piracy, implementation  of the international ship and port security (ISPS) Code  and the Cabotage Act.

The management has also been able to control and prevent maritime pollution carried out  certification, employment and welfare of maritime labour, perform port and flag state duties, established the procedure for the implementation of all  international conventions on maritime , labour , security and safety to which Nigeria is a party as well as discharge its air and coastal surveillance effectively.

Manpower Development

On assumption of office , it   had immediately introduced a new work ethics , focused on the  training and retraining of the personnel , the improvement of  their  welfare  across board and the  promotions of all categories of workers including  those on management level.All these and such   promotions which  last took place 10 years ago boosted their output  and impacted on the agency’s contributions to the maritime sector and the economy..

NSDP/ Seatime Training

In line with the vision of the current management to produce a crop of well trained manpower for the maritime sector which will in turn earn scarce foreign exchange for the country, it has repackaged the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP)  and ensured that all the beneficiaries of the scheme especially those of them  who are currently in school have access to the vital seatime training  ,

It has done this to give the cadets global recognition and facilitate their being employed.  NIMASA is already discussing with the relevant maritime institutions in Egypt and Europe   to ensure that the Nigerian cadets who are beneficiaries of the NSDP start their seatime training. As a matter of fact a total of 1,045 of the students have graduated   out of the 2,500 the agency is sponsoring.

Revenue Generation

In the realm of revenue generation, much as the current management of the agency  has had it as a policy to ensure its personnel  do not compromise at ensuring safety of vessels coming or leaving Nigerian shores  because of the quest to make money for the organization, the agency has nevertheless been  very up and doing at remitting funds into the federal government coffers .

While the current management in the past one year made  significant contributions to the consolidated revenue fund in its one year of existence,  it is already working extra hard  to double it  by increasing its  revenue avenues  , plug  loopholes, enhance compliance  to ensure it provides more money for government to  fund its series of projects  and confirm its contributions to economic development.

Billing of Pipelines/ Sea Protection Levy Gazette

To  enhance revenue generation, the management has commenced the billing of pipelines, oil  rigs and FPSOs through the exploitation of the Statutory  provisions of the Sea Protection Levy Gazette.

Restructuring

A significant part of the ongoing reforms at NIMASA has been the restructuring of the Agencies operation, under which power is being devolved to the zonal offices, a development which has reduced red tapism to a large extent and facilitated the time of doing business with the agency approval of the   board of directors to erect magnificent edifices in its eastern zonal offices in Port Harcourt and Western Zonal offices  in Warri among other places.

ISPS Code

The NIMASA has made a giant strides in area of the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) International Ship and Ports Facility(ISPS) Code , which the agency is the Designated Authority on behalf of Nigeria  which now  has over 80 per cent compliance rate with the Code as  nearly 145 ports in the country are now fully compliant from just 13 in 2005 when it took over the function.

While the United States Coast Guard Team which visited Nigeria recently has variously lauded NIMASA over its efforts on the implementation of the Code, many stakeholders have also commended the agency.  The implication of the high compliance rate is that terminals are now safer and more reliable to do business and able to contribute more revenue to the economy.

Repositioning

Highly impressed by the great strides of the current NIMASA management  on the implementation of its reformation agenda, the President of the Nigerian Chamber  of Shippers(NCS) , Mr Andy Isichei among many other stakeholders   had to commend the organization  on its efforts towards the repositioning of the agency and the maritime sector  which has made it to contribute more to economic development.

Maritime Safety/ Search and Rescue

Also the various commendable efforts which the current management has made it  to increase maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea especially as it pertains to reduction in cases of piracy..The revival of the activities of the   Search and Rescue Committee of nine member States under Nigeria, SAR region which has seen the agency organizing two sub regional technical Committee meetings has increased the agency’s capacity to respond to distress calls.

Surveillance of Maritime Domain/ Anti- Piracy Bill

Additionally, the agency’s quest to have a safer maritime domain  has also made it to champion an anti – piracy bill which it hopes to pursue to the National  Assembly  to  become  an Act this year .The quest to enhance safety of vessels  cum search  and rescue  has also made it possible for it to increase the number of search and rescue marshals from 100 to 1000  while it will soon  acquire assets to be deployed in strategic locations in Nigeria.

Furthermore, as part of measures for effective monitoring of vessels, NIMASA has upgraded its surveillance system to 24 hours , a development which makes it to capture any vessel  in the Nigerian Maritime Domain irrespective of weather conditions. This approach  has helped the agency to block revenue leakages and  enhance its revenue profile since all  vessels are now captured for billing.It has also integrated surveillance data with billing control information  thus reducing billing time significantly.

Building of Indigenous Capacity

In line with NIMASA’s mandate to  promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping  in international and coastal shipping trade,  the management has commenced the strict enforcement  of Sections 36 and 37 of the NIMASA Act 2017 meant to achieve this purpose. It is already poised to take the matter to the  highest legislative and executive arms of government  to realize this objective.

Switch of Trade Term from FOB to CIF

To conserve Foreign exchange for Nigeria on the lifting of wet cargo, through which the country’s crude oil is now carried  at Free on Board (FOB) , the management is ensuring  that such cargoes are now carried in Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) which will make  Nigeria to participate in crude oil lifting , cargo insurance and create jobs for cadets and other Nigerians.it  will soon start to reach out to relevant agencies of government  in this direction as well as do a memo to the Federal Executive Council.

Cabotage Law

The management is working towards  100 per cent compliance with the Cabotage Act  in the  nearest future in the areas of the number of vessels doing business in Nigeria waters and  flying the National Flag , which has risen to 60 per cent  from less than 3 per cent in 2003   as well as an increase of 20 per cent in the building of Cabotage vessels  compared to when it was dominated by foreigners.

Currently about 400 vessels flying Nigerian Flag are now registered  with NIMASA  compared to less than about half  as at 2015 while the management is also making efforts to finally disburse the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) which will enhance the capacity of indigenous shipping companies and boost the economy.

Modular Floating Dockyard

Not relenting in making further positive impact  it is already set to take delivery of the fifth largest modular floating dockyard  on the African Continent , which is expected to save Nigeria at least  $100 million  annually  from dry docking of ships in the country  instead of outside the country as done currently  as well as earn FOREX  for the economy through the venture.

International Conventions

Wrecks and Derelicts / International Conventions

The management  has also been up and doing in the enforcement of international conventions and regulations to which Nigeria is a party , performed creditably well in the area of removal of wrecks and derelicts under NIMASA’s responsibility as receiver of wrecks ,  a development that has facilitated smooth sailing of vessels into Nigeria’s waters.

Conclusion

As  Dr Peterside  continues to lead the management of the NIMASA to greater strides in the realization of the purposes and objectives of the organization  , the consensus in the shipping  sector is that its administration is already  increasing  the contributions of the agency to the  maritime sector and the economy as well as making  Nigeria to be a force to be reckoned with in the global maritime circle.

 

Shola Fadeyi , a Lagos based journalist is the Publisher of Marine&Economy , a Print & online Publication as well as MD , Simofad Communications Limited.

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