Press Release-- The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency, NIMASA Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi has identified cooperation and synergy amongst the various government Agencies, critical stakeholders operating in the maritime sector as the fastest way of transforming the fortunes of the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
Mr Akpobolokemi stated this when the council members of the Nigeria Chamber of Shipping, NCS, led by its Vice President, Mr. Andy Isichei paid him a courtesy call in his office at the Maritime House.
The Director General observed that all the operators in the Nigerian maritime sector must work together to achieve the common objective of moving the sector forward saying “ being the regulatory body in the maritime sector does not mean that NIMASA has monopoly of knowledge. We need to collaborate with other Agencies and stakeholders in the maritime industry in order to move the maritime industry forward because currently, there seem to be no synergy among the various government agencies and stakeholders in the system.”
He observed that if the opportunities in the maritime sector are properly harnessed, the maritime sector alone is capable of financing the entire budget of the country saying all hands must be on deck to reposition the Nigerian economy through maritime.
The NIMASA boss also observed that there are critical challenges in the implementation of the Cabotage Act which makes it mandatory that there would still be some foreign presence in the inland and coastal trading activities noting that currently, Nigeria lacks the technical capacity to control all of its coastal trade.
He further said there has to be some form of participation of foreigners in the nation’s coastal trade for some time, skewed in such a way that Nigerians can benefit optimally until technology is transfered and the country acquires the required technical capacity.
The DG also said “the laws on ground notwithstanding, we need full presidential backing in order to effectively implement cabotage. The full implementation of cabotage can effectively generate employment and create wealth while reducing the crime rate in our society.”
He therefore proposed an all inclusive summit of all the players in the maritime sector and the oil exploration companies to deliberate and collectively agree on the implementation of the Cabotage regime to the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Earlier in an address, the Vice president of the Nigeria Chamber of Shipping, Mr. Andy Isichei said they were at the Maritime House to discuss with the Agency’s management and seek ways of possible collaboration with a view to growing the maritime sector and promoting indigenous shipping in Nigeria.
Mr. Isichei explained that the NCS has the infrastructure and the capacity to partner NIMASA in eliminating sharp practices which has cost the nation millions of dollars in revenue saying “all the shipping companies know that Nigeria is one of the most lucrative shipping routes in the world and
together we can foster the development of our local shipping industry to benefit from this market”.
He stressed that with their affiliation to the American Chamber of Shipping, the NCS has access to training modules that can meet NIMASA’s human capacity development needs for increased monitoring and enforcement of best practices in the shipping industry.