The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has commended the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its capacity development initiative in the Nigerian maritime sector. He further applauded the Agency for remaining focused in the delivery of its mandate, noting that the Agency has a better image than what it was ten years ago.
Engineer Sambo stated this while on a working visit to the headquarters of the Agency in Lagos, alongside the Minister of State, Prince Ademola Adegoroye and the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani.
In his words “NIMASA of today has come a long way from the NIMASA I knew ten years ago. I commend the entire Management and Staff of the Agency for raising the bar, it is a symbol of team work. I am impressed with the customer experience center and your efforts to attract young Nigerian into the maritime sector via various capacity development projects including the essay competition for secondary school students”.
Commenting on the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the Minister reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to work with the Agency in ensuring it is disbursed to deserving beneficiaries, adding that it will further boost shipping activities in the country’s maritime sector.
“If there is a jinx about the CVFF, I am going to break it by getting it disbursed to deserving Nigerians. If these funds are disbursed, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the Federal Ministry of Transportation will take credit, while it remains a legacy in your administration”, the Minister said.
Sambo called for more synergistic relationship between NIMASA and other parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry, in addition to the Nigerian Navy and members of the Nigerian Armed forces towards ensuring the success of the Deep Blue Project is a success.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh thanked the Minister for his dynamic leadership in steering the affairs of the Ministry, while also assuring that the Agency remains committed to actualizing its mandate as stipulated in the four enabling Acts of the National Assembly for a robust and attractive maritime sector in Nigeria.
He further used the opportunity to intimate the Minister on some of the activities of the Agency in realizing a robust maritime sector which include; obtaining approval for physical and monetary incentives for ship owners to purchase brand new vessels at zero duty, while also assisting them get foreign exchange at the Central Bank of Nigeria rate respectively. The move according to the DG is to help phase out old and rickety vessels from the nation’s waterways and encourage more participation in the Nigerian shipping industry.
The NIMASA Director General informed the Minister that under the Deep Blue Project, 600 Special Forces from the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Department of State Security, among others are undergoing training for special skills to ensure effective implementation of the project. The intent is to ensure that the nation’s waterways remain safe from all forms of criminalities.
Jamoh also informed the Minister that under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) scheme over 2,000 Nigerians have undergone training, out of which about 800 are actively engaged on various ships, with a huge number of them working on the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) ships. He added that NIMASA is developing a National Ship Building and Infrastructure Development Strategy, aimed at bridging the gap of capacity building for trained seafarers.
Other achievements listed include but are not limited to; enhanced maritime safety administration through effective Ports and Flag states inspection on foreign and Nigerian flagged vessels, Enforcement of safety regulations on barges and tug boats through Operation Sting Ray, Reactivation of online seafarers Certificate of Competency verification platform, and commenced activities towards ensuring GHG emission reduction in the maritime sector with an emphasis on achieving 0.5% Sulphur Oxide (SO2) in Bunker fuel oil.
The Minister also undertook a tour of the NIMASA Maritime Stakeholders’ Experience Contact Center, MSECC. The 24 hour Center serves as a platform for both internal and external stakeholders to resolve any issue within the stipulated 24 hours.