By: Omoregie Martins
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has reiterated the need for maritime stakeholders and players in the country to create mutually beneficial alliances as well as synergize their activities and operations and participate actively in the Nigerian maritime sector in order to support the growth of the country’s blue economy.
Dr. Peterside who made this call while addressing the nation’s maritime players at the first ever Harmonized NIMASA Stakeholders Interactive Forum with the theme “Synergy: An Instrument for Sustainable Development of the Blue Economy” held recently at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos also said that the amount of littoral states in Nigeria plus the size and resources strength of the nation make the development of Nigeria blue economy a necessity toward guaranteeing a prosperous Nigeria.
The NIMASA DG said that the Agency is currently on a mission of revamping and changing the landscape of the nation’s maritime domain through formulation and implementation of all necessary and needed policy frameworks geared towards ensuring a conducive business environment in line with Presidential Enabling Business environment Council (PEBEC), for maritime business to thrive.
According to Dakuku, “Maritime provide a veritable opportunity for us to grow and diversify our economy. We will ensure that we do not derelict in our roles and mandates, but with your supports play our roles well, bearing in mind your expectations and ensuring that we provide all necessary enablers through friendly policies for industry players to reap the benefits of participating in the sector, in order to develop our blue economy for Nigeria’s benefit. We are aware that NIMASA and indeed our maritime sector are of no value to our country without you, the stakeholders”.
Dr. Peterside however charged industry stakeholders to collaborate and cooperate with the Agency as it strives to create an enabling environment for them to operate, adding that the Agency has created various platforms through which stakeholders and NIMASA can interface for proper and constructive engagements on diverse issues.
In his words, “The industry belongs to stakeholders. Therefore, we must synergize to get all actual and potential benefits embedded in the maritime sector. We must work together at all time because it is our priority that those who do business in the industry flourish in order to develop our blue economy. To guarantee a safe and secure business environment, we have embarked on a number of interventions. We are in an advanced stage in the process of acquiring more surveillance aircrafts and additional Fast Intervention Vessels (FIV) as enshrined in the new maritime security architecture approved by the Federal Executive Council to ensure that our maritime domain remains safe for doing business”.
The NIMASA DG also hinted that to ensure Nigerians reap the benefits of the industry optimally, and to brace up for the challenges of a robust sector, the Agency was also carrying out a holistic human capacity building and development covering all functional and critical areas in the sector. He added that the Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some foreign schools to provide Sea time training to the graduates of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), an initiative of the Agency, which has hitherto been a daunting and challenging task.
Also at the event, the Chairman Governing Board of the Agency, Major General Jonathan India Garba (Rtd.) said that the Board would continue to support the Dr. Peterside led Executive Management by giving necessary approvals as well as technical know-how that would reform and reposition the Nigerian maritime space for economic benefit.
In the same vein, the Chairman House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Mr. Muhammed Umar Bago said that the Legislative arm of the government would continue to support NIMASA and Stakeholders by providing enabling legislation’s that would advance the country’s maritime sector in line with the Agency vision, to compete favorably within the global competitive space.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin and a former DG of NIMASA, Bar., Temisan Omatseye, unanimously commended the Agency’s drive towards building capacity for the sector. While Otunba Folarin noted that the effect of the current drive of the Agency would be felt in the industry soonest, Omatseye affirmed his confidence in the present crop of Management of NIMASA, noting that with the current transformation in the nation’s maritime sector, Dr. Dakuku Peterside’s appointment amounts to putting a round peg in a round hole.
The one-day interactive forum delivered an opportunity for the Agency and the maritime players in the country to cross-fertilize ideas and agreement for mutual benefits. Summarily, NIMASA alongside the participating stakeholder at the event resolved, amongst others things, that there was need to: create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in shipping in order to achieve the objective of a Nigerian blue economy pursuant to NIMASA’s statutory mandates; Engage relevant Agencies and stakeholders in order to create a regime of concessions and policy initiatives designed to boost the competitive edge of Nigerian shipowners vis a viz their foreign counterparts, etc.