- South Africa wisely keeps the Secretariat!
The drum beats have stopped. The dancers have settled. But the autopsy report shows that while Nigeria has squandered over N100 million to earn a one-year Chairmanship of the Association of African Maritime Administrator (AAMA), the South African people have wisely, taken the AAMA Secretariat for keep!
The Government wants the people to change. The Government itself launched the ‘Change begin with Me’ mantra. Yet, the Government failed to see that Nigeria, for greater rationality and prudence, ought to have fought for and keep the AAMA Secretariat, with all its attendant benefits in employment, tourism and forex earnings; rather than gun for a mere flamboyant, absolutely ephemeral prize of a 12-month Chairmanship!
Those who organize World Cup fiestas in the Sports terrain at least, have befitting Stadia to keep after the event.
The nations that host the Olympics do have various levels of highly-improved sports facilities to show afterwards. Nigeria showed paparazzi, klieg-lights from state of the art world class cameras.
The nation’s hotels, particularly the five-stars had field days, as we gradually and slowly decimated over N100 million, that could have been better invested in more of common man’s needs. Then, everyone went home.
When they embarked on their frenzy, fiendish xenophobia, attacking fellow Africans for their dwindling economic fortunes, my first instinct was to believe they were foolish. Are we to believe that they are even, wiser than some nations?!
The first assignment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is to grow the nation’s shipping industry. An over-neglected cash cow, the NIMASA as a Government agency has been consistently unlucky. What can be worse than being unlucky? Perhaps, it is being engrossed with poor vision. NIMASA has both been unlucky and vision-less.
Not only has piracy, an intimidating factor, normally associated with hindered shipping regime placed Nigeria on its Number One global list, the Minister of Transportation who made the disclosure also, before seemingly going to bed after the pronouncement, assured that the nation will soon abandon the unenviable placement.
Government knew Nigeria is the global leader, on the piracy list, pledged to do something on it; but hasn’t done much yet, on it. It only remarkably, approved a one-year pursuit of some ‘status symbol’.
The presidency only this Wednesday, tasked the Minister of finance, Adeosun to tell Nigerians that it is now aware that successive NIMASA managers plundered the agency. Adeosun also told the nation that Government might open the books of some past NIMASA managers to evaluate the extent of their plundering.
So far, one major good thing that has happened to that agency is that it has haphazardly protected the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)! Even on this, stakeholders are divided. A group plead that NIMASA should disburse it to qualified and competent ship owners to acquire more bottoms. The other school is saying the money should be used to set up the nation’s specialized Maritime Bank, whose mandate would be to process, manage and disburse CVFF to qualified stakeholders for the sole reason of promoting local shipping operations.
The NIMASA has been deaf to the first group. The agency management has been dumb to the second group. No one knows the actual value of the CVFF, except that the Director General, a fortnight ago said it is over N100m and it is also idling away in some corners of the Central Bank of Nigeria, courtesy of Treasury Single Account stipulation.
A growing fear now amongst industry watchers is that the fund, as the 2019 National Elections draw near, may soon become handy for electioneering purposes!
The summary therefore, is that more than two years after the assumption of duty of the present management of NIMASA as a Government agency, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime, the nation’s maritime apex parastatal is heading towards comatose, having successfully placed the country on the unenviable number one global, Piracy List; failed to perform its core mandate of promoting local shipping; massively canonized battalions of frustrated cadets as a result of a visionless, woeful failure to provide required sea-time training; and is happy to watch over N100m idling, inside the CBN!
The NIMASA and JAMB have remarkably increased their remittances to the Federal Government. The JAMB is doing the job and has increased remittances. The NIMASA is not doing the job but is increasing its remittances to the Federal Government. There is a noteworthy difference.
Presently, the stakeholders are praying for Mr. President. For his good health and the success of Mr. President’s first tenure.They are also praying, that they won’t have to apologize to the former NIMASA Director General, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, in 2019!
May the President live Forever!!