Collaboration: ‘A Big Ask’ For Nigerian Shipowners

Collaboration: ‘A Big Ask’ For Nigerian Shipowners
Lagos Seaport

Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration, as we need an entire army of companies to work together to build a better world within the next few decades. This means corporations must embrace the benefits of cooperating with one another – Simon Mainwaring

Collaboration is one of the popular words repeated in many maritime stakeholder’s summits in Nigeria, just as ‘synergy’, ‘partnerships’, ‘joint-efforts’, among other synonyms have been drummed into the souls of most participants in the numerous conferences. Nevertheless, it remains the bane of the sector as several stakeholders hardly find common ground. When they do, the covert reason is to maximize the interest or accruable benefits as individuals or groups.

During the 2018 Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) End-of-Year Workshop/ Dinner, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Mr. Bashir Jamoh highlighted the effects of disunity among ship-owners in the country, narrating how it foiled several efforts to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF)

According to Jamoh, the inclination to pursue individual interest rather than personal interest hindered the deliberations on the headway for the disbursement of CVFF as it made it very difficult for the government as well as the Ministry and regulatory agencies to deal with the issues because it was at te level of individuals.

Speaking with MMS Plus on the sidelines at the event, Jamoh said; “This issue is something that the Minister has attempted to address and he asked the ship-owners to organize themselves as one team and come back to discuss the issues with him. The differences and conflict in interests limited some of these noble actions of the Minister”

However, he assured you that by this time next year, the conflict would be a thing of the past and all ship-owners would be able to sit down and address the problems affecting the business in unity.

Observing that during the research he conducted while writing his book; “Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets, Past, Present & Future” one of the major impediments to the growth of the maritime industry was the disintegration among key stakeholders as they all sort personal interests; Jamoh pledged that he would make it his personal assignment to reconcile the Nigerian ship-owners.

“It is only when they can make their appeals in one voice that the government would listen and take them seriously. There is no explanation as to why a country as big as Nigeria would subject itself to interests of individuals in this crucial sector. This has been one of the major problems in the delay in the disbursement of CVFF” he said.

Although this hasn’t the only problem hindering the disbursement of CVFF, a more united group of ship-owners would have made headway in the bid to see the fund disbursed years ago.

Another challenge as highlighted by Jamoh, is the frequent change in the administration.

“Before the present administration, we had followed due process and some companies had been outlined but a new administration came onboard before the process was concluded. The challenge is that a new administration hardly has confidence in any process that wasn’t initiated by it” he said.

It is no small feat to attempt to unite Nigerian ship-owners whose differences run deep despite that fact that they all face the same market, tough issues and difficult government policies.

If Jamoh could pull this off, it could be a masterstroke for not just the maritime sector, but the nation at large. Let’s be optimistic.

Yes, he can! 

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