The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Wednesday said it had instituted a medium-term strategic growth plan for the maritime industry, with resolute effort to ensure safety on the nation’s waterways.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stated this while speaking at an interactive forum with maritime journalists in Lagos on the way forward for an efficient and effective maritime industry.
He said a roadmap to achieving its core mandate for the industry has been strategically developed for the next three years to Reform, Restructure and Reposition the Agency to achieve sustainable growth and development of the industry.
He emphasized that the strategy plan would base on five pillars of Survey, Inspection and Certification Transformation programme; Environment, Security and Search and Rescue Transformation programme.
The plan will also cover Capacity Building and Promotional Initiatives for human capacity development, grow indigenous tonnage and ship building, Digital Transformation Strategy; and Structural and Cultural reforms.
The Director General said the agency would further strengthen its memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Airforce and with the Nigerian Navy to deploy more facilities to ensure safety in the maritime domain.
He said that NIMASA Satellite surveillance facility helps to monitor activities on the maritime domain and would be supported with the aerial marine aircraft from the Airforce, in addition to more maritime domain surveillance assets by the navy.
Peterside also said that the effort to secure the maritime domain will be supported by ensuring better legal framework for prosecution of anyone arrested for such maritime crime as sea piracy.
“We want to put a reviewed framework in place, because Nigeria is the only one without an anti-piracy law, but we are pushing for that and we are getting support to put in place a dedicated anti-piracy law.
“It will inform a new framework for prosecution of crime and criminal activities at sea and those involved in piracy at the sea. This is to ensure that piracy is reduced to its minimum,” he said.
Speaking on the agency’s core mandate for shipping development, the Director General assured that indigenous shipping would get a boost with a judicious disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund(CVFF).
He, however, said that the modality for the disbursement would be prescribed by the Ministry of transportation, which according to him, is working with critical stakeholders on the best way forward.
He said that the ultimate plan would be to see Nigeria participate fully in the carrying its crude and proudly have their fleet flagged Nigeria, in addition to be able to provide sea-time training opportunity for cadets.
Peterside noted that it was also important to review the agency’s structure and work culture in order to maximize its human resources for the growth plan, bearing in mind the critical role of visionary leadership.
On the agency’s financial status, Peterside said NIMASA was struggling with finances, considering the various prevailing factors that have long impact on the agency’s revenue.
“The times are quite challenging given the dwindling global economy, decline in crude oil price and foreign exchange and fiscal policies which have impacted the revenue of the Agency.
This requires ingenious leadership to actualise our policy direction and we are committed to providing that leadership.”
He, however, said that NIMASA, with full automation of its system and processes, all revenue leakages would be plugged and that would help improve its revenue base and support the growth plan.
He expressed commitment to provision of sea-time for cadets in the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, and disclosed that he had personally signed over 400 Certificate of competency to enable qualified seafarers get employed globally.