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Security, shipping devt top industry expectations as new NIMASA DG solicits support

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Maritime security, shipping development and disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) have been listed among the top industry expectations from the newly appointed executive team of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by Bashir Jamoh.

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday night at a dinner reception held in his honour, Bashir Jamoh, the new director general of NIMASA, solicited for the collaboration and support of stakeholders to enable his administration reposition the industry for growth.

“We have our own mandate. We need your assistance and support to be able to actualise this mandate. Your support, understanding and guidance are always going to be our own watchword.  I cannot do it alone. Join me and support me to get these things right to reposition the agency for the betterment of us all. I assure you, we will do everything possible not to fail you,” he assured.

Earlier, Emmanuel Iheanacho, chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas, who described Jamoh as a veteran that has spent over 25 years in the maritime industry, expressed his team would be successful in NIMASA.

Iheanacho, who pointed out that NIMASA is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that Nigerian shipping business and maritime environment operate in line with international best practices, said the agency has not really done well in these regards.

According to him, the agency had in the past deviated from its core mandate even as he promised that stakeholders would ensure that such would not happen again in the current administration.

While warning the new leadership to deviate from becoming Inland Revenue Service that takes money from ship owners and remit to government, he assured them that ship owners would not allow such to happen because there were reasons for setting up such funds.

“We want you to try not to militarise NIMASA because there is nothing embarrassing as when people carry guns to threaten operators over infraction in agency’s rules. We have never seen where maritime administration is enforced by armed men,” he stated.

He however pointed out the need to allow Nigerian-owned tankers to carry Nigerian oil, adding that there is need to ensure the disbursement of CVFF by ensuring that the guideline is fair and equitable.

Also speaking, Aminu Umar, immediate past president of the Nigeria Shipowners Association (NISA), told the new NIMASA team to focus on fight against piracy, which not only affects Nigerian ship owners but global shipping business.

Umar, who expressed confidence on the capability of the present NIMASA management team, pleaded with them to promote and protect indigenous shipping business by enabling them to take over shipping from foreign operators for economic development.

Margret Orakwusi, chairman, Nigerian Ship Owners Forum, who stated that Jamoh’s appointment has given hope to the younger staff by proving that there is possibility to rise through the ranks to become the director-general someday, pointed out the need to empower the indigenous ship operators, and to enhance the fight against sea piracy.

She called on the management of NIMASA to help address the issue of safety of human lives and marine assets on Nigerian waters especially in ensuring prompt response to distress calls by vessels at sea.

“There is need to empower the workforce through training to ensure that our cadets are well equip to compete with their counterparts going by the fact that shipping is an international business,” she advised.

She further advised the DG to ensure that Nigeria would be elected into the ‘Category C’ of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council seat during the next IMO assembly.

 

AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE