The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) have concluded agreement to partner for the development of shipping indigenous.
ISAN comprises Nigerian ship owners who have been grappling with the challenge of tackling the domination of inland and coastal trade in the country by foreign ship owners over the years.
In a bid to address some of the challenges being faced by the management of the agency, a Joint Technical Committee to review and provide a road map to improve indigenous participation in the Nigerian maritime sector, has been set up.
The apex maritime regulatory authority has also resolved to constitute a Maritime Advisory Group (MAG) for the Nigerian maritime industry before the end of this month.
A statement issued in Lagos and signed by NIMASA Deputy Director and Head, Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka said this was part of the decisions taken at a meeting between the management of NIMASA led by the Director General, Mr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi and members of ISAN led by its Chairman, Chief Isaac Jolapamo.
Akpobolokemi noted that MAG has become a necessity to ensure that all stakeholders are carried along in the process of policy formulation and implementation in the Nigerian maritime sector.
He noted that NIMASA management under his leadership is committed to a collective process of decision making in harnessing the potentials of the country’s maritime sector.
“The time for rhetoric is over. The Maritime Advisory Group will have people of high integrity who will add value to our vision of developing the industry. Even as we desire collective efforts, constructive criticisms are welcome. We are ready to move with the speed of light in harnessing the country’s maritime potentials”, he said.
Akpobolokemi disclosed that a lot of progress has been on the implementation of Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF).
According to him, the agency has appointed some commercial banks as primary lending institutions (PLIs), adding that six organisations have been recommended to NIMASA for issuance of certificates of disbursement (COD). He said this will only be done after both the NIMASA Board and the Minister of Transport have granted the agency all necessary approvals.
He also said that the capability audit exercise embarked upon by the agency last year has started yielding fruits as most companies now find it difficult to terminate contracts of indigenous operators at will as they now have NIMASA to contend with.
The Chairman of ISAN in his remarks at the meeting commended the management of NIMASA for making the MAG a reality, assuring that ISAN will support programmes of the agency.
While commending the management of NIMASA for effective enforcement of Cabotage regime in Lagos, Jolapamo urged the agency to extend same to other ports, particularly Port Hacourt, Calabar, Onne and Warri.
His words: “This is the right direction to go. We are very happy with NIMASA’s fight against piracy and Cabotage enforcement. Foreign vessels do not come to Lagos again illegally except on weekends. They have moved to Calabar and Port Harcourt. We want NIMASA to step up operations in those areas.” He noted that the future of maritime in Nigeria lies with indigenous operators taking charge, adding that ISAN would carry out a technical audit on all vessels under its fleet and report same to NIMASA.
Source: NIMASA, May 17, 2011.