By Kenneth Jukpor
The League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LOMEP) yesterday, lampooned the Nigerian Maritime and Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the lavish N500 million on the Corporate Dinner and Merit Award organized recently by the agency at the Eko Hotels, Lagos.
The association lambasted NIMASA’s recent outing as a waste of scarce government resources at a time when many incapacitated ship owners and agents lacked funds to charter vessels of three thousand tonnage to make a voyage for a contract at the cost of about N10 million, bunkering inclusive.
The President of LOMEP, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke made this call in his opening speech at the event which marked the 20th Anniversary Lecture/ Awards Patrons’ Investiture Ceremony on the theme “Indigenous Fleet Development, What Options?”
Anaroke said, “LOMEP is still struggling to appreciate the sense in the lavish expenditure of over N500 million at their recently held corporate dinner and merit awards at Eko Hotels, Lagos, when many incapacitated ship owners and agents lack funds to charter vessels of three thousand tonnage to make a voyage for a contract at the cost of about N10 million, bunkering inclusive”.
The President who imagined a situation where at least 50 percent of Nigerian profiled ship owners had functional revenue generating bottoms regardless of their sizes wondered how much job opportunities would have been created in different families even as he further imagined how much the nation would have saved as billions of dollars being filtered away as expenditure on cadet training and seatime experience abroad.
“It is on this note that we the League join other well-meaning Nigerians and maritime stakeholders to call on the government to disburse without further delay the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) to deserving beneficiaries even as we condemn the secrecy with which the Fund is managed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). It is appalling that even NIMASA cannot give a good account of how much has accrued into the Fund.
Speaking on the growth of the association over the years, he said; “A baby born 20 years ago has come of age constitutionally, socially and otherwise and so the League of Maritime Editors has indeed come of age. It was originally conceived to protect the interest of members while reporting the activities in the maritime industry and its allied sectors but has reinvented itself to be the conscience of the maritime industry with a confluence of pioneers in the business”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho commended the association as a crop of refined maritime journalists reserving special praise for their role in the development of some crucial maritime policies.
Iheanacho decried the situation that Nigeria couldn’t add value to the crude oil before export or partake in freight element.
“We are exporting our crude in the rawest form and then we left to people who were trading with us, those buying from us to supply the transport element, to add value to it. If you take oil for example, they will take our oil, they will bring their ships, they will take it to their refineries and they will refine it and they will put it back on their ships and they will sell it to us for very high prices” he said.
He also stressed that the development of national fleet should be reflective of the nature of Nigerian trade which is more on crude oil even as he admonished Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to change the trade term from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF)