…Keeps everyone guessing on any assistance to Nigerian ship owners***
The Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside on Wednesday reiterated his organization’s commitment to human capital development in a bid to ensure an all encompassing maritime industry development, with a view to making Nigeria a maritime hub.
He however did not mention one single way the agency has assisted or empowered the Nigerian ship owners, except, huge, remarkable programmes he is still working on, towards assisting them.
Dr. Peterside indicated this during an interactive session with Journalists in Lagos, saying the agency had trained 2,337 seafarers, in an aim of empowering them with the required sea time experience required by industry players before positioning them for shipping sector engagement.
He highlighted that the seafarers trained represented a 58.9% increase in the number of seafarers employed, adding that this move has led to job and wealth creation in line with the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
“We cannot achieve much without developing the skills of our cadets whom the country will rely on in the nearest future to continue to steer the ship of the industry.
“We want to emulate other shipping countries like the Philippines that pride themselves as countries that export maritime personnel to other countries.
“As an agency, our approach to regulation and interface with stakeholders is not that of command structure, and that has enabled us to partner Nigerian ship owners to also engage some of the cadets on board their vessels”, he said, before focusing on piracy, which he noted had compelled him to reinvigorate his understanding and collaboration with the Nigerian Navy.
“The agency is not oblivious of pockets of piracy activities within the Gulf of Genuine.
“The agency is working with the Nigeria Navy to stamp the tide of piracy to aid trade,” Dr. Peterside said, adding that the agency’s vigilance on the Nigerian waters, had however ensured a significant reduction in piracy to almost zero per cent.
The director-general said with 1,025 newly registered vessels by the agency, and the retraining of 5,700 already employed sea trading, the coast was clearer for the country to take its rightful place within the comity of nations.
He added that it was cheaper and economical to have cadets on board training vessels than for the country to owe one.
Speaking on other issues, Dr. Peterside said that the Agency is working on a special foreign exchange intervention for vessel parts acquisition and loan repayment processes to enable indigenous operators compete favourably with their foreign counterparts. He added that there is a team working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on how best this policy can be implemented. He said this is aside working towards the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) which will give room for a full-fledged Cabotage regime with more job opportunities created.
Commenting on the Agency’s Survey, Inspection & Certification Transformation Programme, Dr Dakuku Peterside disclosed that 3,752 Certificates of Competency (CoC) were issued in 2017 to successful Seafarers. Representing a 149 % increase from the CoCs issued in 2016.
Dr. Peterside said that the impact of this is the confidence of stakeholders who now willingly verify certificates without prompting. He further informed that a total of 1,880 certificates were authenticated for stakeholders in 2017 alone, a significant rise when compared to the 1013 CoCs verified in 2016.