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NIMASA Flags Off 3-Day Retreat To Evolve Sectorial Roadmap

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  • As 16,532 Oyo workers face probe over multiple salaries

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside has flagged off a three day retreat with the members of his Management, designed to evolve a functional road map for the development of the nation’s maritime sector.

Peterside whose gesture subtly beats the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi’s goal for setting up a MINISTERIAL committee tasked with the mandate of making the agency effective also told the agency staffers that  they should essentially focus on five areas of critical importance, particularly Survey, Inspection and Certification Transformation programme; Security, Emergency and Search and Rescue Transformation programme as well as Capacity Building Initiatives which entail growing indigenous tonnage, ship building and human capacity.

The others were Digital Transformation Strategy; and Structural and Cultural reforms including changes to work ethic and attitude of staff as well as processes and procedures.

“I am ready and willing, physically and spiritually, to work with you as a member of the team in order to actualise the dream of a new NIMASA that will be a pride to Nigeria and a reference point to the global shipping community”, he indicated, describing  himself as the coordinator of the Change programme in NIMASA, who on assumption of duty, had met a highly knowledgeable, competent and patriotic workforce, but which regrettably however, had unfortunately delved into politics which also brought about serious divisions in its workforce.

Encapsulating his theme as “Repositioning NIMASA for the Sustainable Development of the Nigerian maritime Sector”,  the Director General said he would take nothing less than the fashioning of at least, a Medium Term Growth Strategy for the sector; challenging them to focus only on the Agency’s goal of adhering to its core functions, while rededicating themselves to the service of the Agency.

While acknowledging that there are problems in the Agency, Dr. Peterside called on Management staff to join hands to turn these challenges into opportunities with the overall aim of positively impacting the maritime sector and Nigeria’s economy as a whole, which is the reason for the retreat.

He told the participating staff that he is committed to a legacy of development in the maritime sector by leaving behind a maritime administration that is known for efficiency and effectiveness, a catalyst for indigenous operations in the sector and a pride to Nigeria.

In the meantime, the Oyo State Government has said it will set up a panel to investigate 16,532 workers in the state for various offences which include drawing multiple salaries.

The Secretary to the State Government, Olalekan Alli, said on Wednesday that the affected workers included employees and pensioners of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Teaching Service Commission, National Youth Service Corps members, local governments and tertiary institutions.

Alli explained that workers, who should have retired but who were still working, and employees with bank accounts linked to invalid Bank Verification Number or without BVN, would also face the panel.

He said the payment of salaries of the concerned employees would be suspended immediately pending further investigation.

He said, “It is to be noted that the 16,532 employees, identified as having issues in their data, are not automatically thrown out of work nor are they confirmed guilty of any financial illegalities yet.

“That is why the panel is being set up to further evaluate the case of each person on a one-on-one basis.”

The SSG said the workers were exposed by the recent staff verification in the state, which was carried out by a consultant.

He noted that the purpose of the exercise was to eliminate fraud and errors in the payment of salaries, wages and pensions as well as to determine ‘ghost’ workers in the state.

Alli added, “It is to ascertain the actual number of employees in the regular employment of the state by various categories; determine who is a bonafide beneficiary of the salaries/wages/pensions by the government; eliminate fraud in the payroll system by ensuring that only identified, deserving and regular employees receive the salaries being paid by the government.

“The exercise was also conducted to fish out ghost workers, eliminate all forms of duplication and irregularities that may lead to the inflation of the payroll via the nominal roll and ascertain the level of compliance in respect of mode and format of payment of salaries.”

The SSG said after the forensic computerised data audit, the consultants from NIBSS found many instances of inconsistencies, variations and entry details that did not tally.

According to him, a former Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadedesin; a representative of the consultant, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe, representative of labour unions and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, would be members of the panel.

Additional report from Punch

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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