Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is broke and is struggling to pay salaries as a result of the economic downturn confronting the country.
The Director-General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said this at a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said, “The current economic downturn coupled with the low cargo throughput has affected the agency’s financial status.
“The low volume of crude exports leading to dwindling revenue is another reason responsible for our situation.”
Peterside expressed hope that the new foreign exchange regime recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria would impact positively on the finances of the agency, adding that it had taken some level of creativity to pay staff salaries.
He added that all financial leakages in the agency were being identified and blocked simultaneously with a view to improving its financial profile.
“NIMASA is almost down and out. We are only managing to pay salaries through our ingenuity. It is not business as usual,” Peterside added.
Meanwhile, the management of the agency has set December deadline to automate all its operations.
Peterside said the decision was taken to eliminate human contact between clients of the agency and its staff, a development that he noted was breeding corruption.
The DG added, “The bad image the agency presently has in the eye of the Nigerian public in the last couple of years, the global economic downturn and the seeming lack of focus on the part of the staff of the agency make the task before my management team to be challenging.
“Although we are equipped with well-trained and dynamic employees, the structure of the agency presently makes it difficult to achieve its core mandate.”
He said although the merger of the Nigerian Maritime Authority with the then Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council to form NIMASA was done years ago, the new body had continue to operate the structure of the NMA.
Peterside added, “We intend to embark on a cultural and structural reform of the agency to ensure that it meets its core mandate.
“To achieve this, a meeting of the top management staff of the agency was conveyed where we have agreed to focus on a five-point agenda in the medium term.”