…As Abdullahi assures NISA of total support to bring back Nigerian jobs
The nation’s hope of improving her employment opportunities through the Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA) got a boost on Thursday, as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), pledged to evolved a committee, mandated to raise the red flags, against illegally operating vessels in Nigerian water, in a bid to ensure a more effective implementation of the Cabotage regime.
The body which would consist of NPA, NISA and other relevant members would have the special mandate of identifying straying ships, wanting to engage in illegal activities, alert designated persons, who in turn, would officially intimate the NIMASA to enable it enforce the relevant law.
The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi disclosed this, in his Marina Lagos office, while hosting a delegation of NISA members, led by their President, Capt Dada Olaniyi Labinjo, who came in the course of their campaign, to win back their jobs, from foreign shipping companies.
“I am very much concerned about Cabotage implementation, because it is for the benefit of the entire country, especially in terms of its potential economic empowerment”, the NPA Boss indicated, even as called attention to the fact the actual implementation of the Act remains the direct responsibility of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Highlighting that a prosperous Nigeria was the prayer of stakeholders, Habib said he would personally be glad to encourage the indigenous ship owners in their chosen career, noting that if he joyfully handles jobs for Grimaldi Group because they pay accurately, why would he not be equally happy to meet the needs of NISA, since they would also be paying.
He however tasked NISA to develop itself into a strong formidable body, able to influence policies, noting that this was the thing that gave prominence and respect to similar bodies in other countries.
“You have to come out to make yourself pronounced; you must make yourself to be known, and I think its only by doing that that you will earn the respect you deserve”.
The Managing Director also cautioned against allowing the NIMAREX Expo to degenerate into an annual jamboree, stressing the need to monitor its gains, against the desired expectations of its founding fathers.
Speaking earlier, the NISA President had observed the huge economic waste, highly pronounced in the maritime industry, stressing that a situation that allows the loss of overN1.2 trillion on annual basis could no longer be allowed.
“In the maritime palance today, two things readily comes to mind whenever we are talking about maritime infrastructure: one, the Port where the business is transacted; and two, the ship, bringing the cargo, ensuring that business is transacted. The two, the port and the ship go together.
“It is for this reason, that we genuinely believe there should be a working business relationship between these strategic Government agencies, particularly the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the the core service providers, especially the NISA. The relationship would essentially be, for the mutual enhancement of the Nigerian maritime industry.
“The recent happenings have even made it more imperative; where oil prices have noze-dived, where Nigeria has been declared as being in a recession, and we have told that we need to readjust, by tightening our belts, has necessitated that we need to look more inwards.
“But, to look more inwards also imply that we make sure that we begin to use more of the Nigerian goods and services, at least, to conserve the scarce foreign currencies, and shore up our economy.
“But what is our best alternative? It is by focusing or refocusing on our oil and gas! We believe that if we do this, the whole of our members, backed by you, we could make the desired difference to the economy.. For instance, if we’d synergize we could save the country as much as N1.2 trillion.
“That is why it is important that the NPA and the NISA work hand in hand,
“And I want to assure you that NISA members are not hooligans. We are not ruffians. We are sincere and genuine Nigerians, wanting to run credible shipping business in the country.
“We are also no small-time investors. We are people who should be encouraged. None of us is a small time investor. Ship acquisition or services are prettily expensive. And that is why we must be encouraged.
“And like I told everybody during my campaign period, we need to bring back our jobs.
“It is only in Nigeria that we are talking about breaches to the Cabotage law. In other climes, no body talks about it, because you cannot breach it. It is taken for granted.
Capt. Labinjo therefore called for the establishment of a NPA-NISA Business Committee, that would constantly monitor the terrain, and proffer needed counsel in the overall interest of industry growth.
The Committee’s additional task then include, to meticulously monitor for vessels straying into Nigeria for illegal business operations, raise the red flag on it; and pass the information to NISA, which in response, would communicate same to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as a regulatory Government arm, for its flag State functions.
The NISA President thanked the Managing Director for the 30% discount the members enjoy as incentive, and especially, the fact that they made their payments in Naira.
He also, specially lauded the active participation of the NPA in NIMAREX, the Nigerian annual forum, for mind-rubbing and ideas-exchange, between the service providers, service consumers and core decisions makers, in the nation’s maritime sector, assuring that the newly inaugurated NIMAREX Planning Committee would leave no stones unturned, to ensure that the platform yielded the desired long-term benefits.