Transport Policy: Dakuku To Camaign For Business Friendly Regulations

The DG NIMASA, Dr. Peterside Dakuku flanked by IMO executives and other stakeholders.
  • As IMO pledges Support in Policy framework drafting
  • SON seizes N8b fake cables in Lagos

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside on Monday observed an urgent need for a new Maritime Transport policy to complement the existing National Transport Policy so as to advance both the national and continental maritime trades.

Dakuku indicated this in Lagos, at the opening of a three-day National workshop on Maritime Transport Policy (MTP) organised by NIMASA in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO); assuring that the agency would assiduously work for an environment saturated by global compliant laws and business-friendly regulations.

“It is high time we fortified our sector with global compliant laws and business-friendly regulations”, the Agency Boss stated, adding that “Maritime is international and we cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the world by doing things the local way, which tends to draw us back and scare away investors.

“You will agree with me that 60% of the cargo headed to West Africa will likely end up in Nigeria; we have not only a long coast but also one of the longest inland waterways; in addition of six active port complexes. All these, coupled with our population, make us the biggest economy in Africa. Therefore, we need a sustainable maritime policy that would guide the coordination of maritime activities as we strive to advance Nigeria’s Global maritime Goal”, Dr. Peterside highlighted, noting that the programme was a new phase in the nation’s journey towards effectively optimising the maritime opportunities that abound the sector, especially in line with the Agency’s mandate of promoting and facilitating maritime trade.

The President Of Ship Owners Association Of Nigeria, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun… Making a point at the occasion

He noted further that as part of the revolution going on in the transport sector, the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is advancing the intermodal transport system by linking all the port complexes to the hinterland via the railway to further facilitate ease of doing business.

He however pointed out that NIMASA alone cannot achieve this goal single handedly, hence the need to seek supports of the IMO and other relevant stakeholders in order to come up with a viable model needed to develop a maritime transport policy that will serve Nigeria’s interest and stand the test of time.

Prof Max Mejia, representing IMO interest

“A workable maritime transport policy of any nation should be stakeholders driven. Therefore all associated stakeholders and professionals in the sector are needed to participate in the articulation and formulation of this policy”, Dakuku said.

In a related development, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, who was represented at the event by the IMO Head, Africa Section, Technical Cooperation Division, Mr. William Azuh, stated that promotion and development of national policies to guide planning, decision making and relevant legislative actions is an important governance practice of many governments, including Nigeria.

“We will support NIMASA in developing a sustainable maritime transport system reflecting and balancing the interests of stakeholders with a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy, which is crucial in serving as a fundamental guidance document to provide a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the Nigerian maritime sector”,  Lim said.

The stakeholders in another group photograph.

In his contribution, the President Of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), a critical pivot to the police’s success, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun called attention on the need to factor into consideration the views of shipowners, who built ships outside the country and wants to bring them into Nigeria, particularly as they should not be unduly burdened by a 100 percent duty fee, which is capable of discouraging the private sector stakeholders from bringing in ships needed to enhance the development of the maritime transport sector.

He further advised the Dr. Peterside led management to ensure it trains cadets to the level of Ass. Naval Captains before sending them out of the country for sea time training, stressing that this would make them more internationally recognised and globally accepted.

In readiness to support the policy were the Chairmen, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, who was represented by the Committee Deputy, Senator Ahmed Ogembe and his Federal House of representatives counterpart, Hon. Umar Bago, represented by Hon. Solomon Adaelu unequivocally assured of the National Assembly’s support to see to the formulation of the policy.

Other notable stakeholders at the Workshop include the Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, represented by Rear Admiral Oshinowo, the Nigeria Custom Service, Nigeria Shippers Council, NPA, NIWA, SOAN amonst other stakeholders.

It should be noted that the three-day National Maritime Transport Policy development workshop organized by NIMASA in conjunction with the IMO is designed to equip the Agency and other relevant Stakeholders with technical skills needed for drafting of the National Maritime Transport Policy. The training is expected to focus on the concept, the formulation process and content of such policies.

The workshop is also aimed at raising national awareness on the importance of a national maritime transport policy by engaging the representatives of the various Government Ministries/Agencies and other stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue with a view to laying the basis for developing and implementing the policy.

In the meantime, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has uncovered over N8billion worth of cloned cables at two residential buildings in the Ajangbadi area of Lagos.

Its enforcement team uncovered the warehouses, where 20 different brands of cloned cables were kept.

Made-in-Nigeria cables and other brands like NOCAN, Surecan, Necaco, Kablemex, Purecan and Nigertin, among others, were cloned in China.

SON Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Bede Obayi conducted reporters round the fake projects on behalf of agency’s Director-General Osita Aboloma.

He said the items belonged to Estobest Electrical Limited.

Abolomasaid the firm’s officials and others implicated in the illegal deal would be made to face the wrath of the law.

He said the company targeted and cloned Nigerian cables already certified by the SON, in deceptive packages.

He added that more of such firms would be uncovered.

According to him, SON had made some enviable progress in the area of sanitising the nation’s cable market.

Aboloma added that dubious importers were trying to truncate that achievement by going overseas  to clone Nigerian cables adjudged to be best in the world.

The SON chief said: “All these cloned Nigerian cables were made in China, but packaged as made-in-Nigeria products.

“You know we are proud of made-in-Nigeria cables, because it is about the  best cable all over the world. This illegal act will not be accepted. SON will not allow it. We are going to go after the importer and prosecute him.”

According to Aboloma, the firm hid the fake items in the warehouse in a residential area to avoid the prying eyes of the regulatory agencies.

He said SON enforcement team would continue to burst dubious importers who resort to bringing in substandard products.

“Nobody can imagine someone coming down here to fully stock two buildings with substandard cables. These are purported to be Nigerian brands but made in China”, he said.

He wondered how the country could make progress when some Nigerians by themselves were sabotaging the effort of the government.

Additional report from Nation