Seafaring Can Curb Forex Problems, Urban Migration – AMANO

Seafaring Can Curb Forex Problems, Urban Migration - AMANO
L-R: The Chairman, Starz Group, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun in a firm handshake with the President of the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO); during the 2022 AMANO Stakeholders Forum in Lagos, on Thursday.
By Kenneth Jukpor
The Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO) has encouraged the federal government to prioritize seafaring in order to curb the foreign exchange challenges in the country and urban migration.
AMANO President, Mr. Emmanuel Maiguwa made this call while speaking at the 2022 Stakeholders’ Forum organized by the AMANO, in Lagos, on Thursday.
His words: “Direct financial benefits from the seas via employment is a critical element in the country’s forex earning. Effective seafaring is a tool to curb urban migration because as a seafarer doesn’t need to be in the city when he only needs to be on the ship. So, a country with a significant number of seafarers wouldn’t worry too much about urban migration.”
Meanwhile, he lamented that a situation where a country isn’t able to certify its seafarers or create an opportunity onboard vessels for seatime experience, means there is no career projection for seafarers.
“There is so much frustration in the aspect of seafarers licensing. There are problems with the processes for seafarers documents and bilateral relationship between Nigeria and other countries for employment of Nigerian seafarers on non-Nigerian flagged vessels. The welfare of seafarers as enshrined in the MLC 2006, career development progression, availability of platforms for seafarers training and employment are also challenges,” he said.
According to him, AMANO organized the conference today with hope that these issues will be addressed by the critical actors including; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron and other training institutions that certify and conduct Certificate of Competency (CoC), International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers and other STCW programmes, ship owners, Nigerian Navy, manning agents and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
At the event themed, ‘The State of the Nigerian Maritime Domain in 2022 and Beyond’, the Chairman, Starzs Investments Company Limited, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun lamented that since the establishment of the Cabotage Act not a dime of the fund has been disbursed, while operators continue to contribute two percent of their contract values into the fund.
“We need to forensically carry out an audit to determine how much has been accrued into that fund. We started contributing into that fund the moment it was established and as we speak, two percent of our contract value is still being deducted,” he said.
Ogbeifun explained that until a new guideline for the disbursement of the fund is developed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, anyone interfering with the fund is committing a crime.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko who was represented by the Apapa Port Manager, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu noted that with the vast waters and coastal lines available in Nigeria, it’s time to ask what has been achieved with these assets.
She noted that maritime domain awareness is where the regulation of the maritime sector begins, arguing that agencies can’t carry out their obligations when they don’t have a good sense of what is moving on or under the waters.
Olotu, however, stressed that the Authority will continue to provide an enabling environment through the implementation of policies geared towards safety, security and environmental challenges.
The event also had lots of maritime bigwigs in attendance including; the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung, President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Tajudeen Alao, among others.

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