The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo has commended the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its capacity development initiative in the Nigerian maritime sector and applauded the agency for remaining focused on the delivery of its mandate, noting that the agency has a better image than it did 10 years ago.
Sambo made this known when he paid a working visit to the headquarters of the agency in Lagos, alongside the Minister of State, Prince Ademola Adegoroye and the permanent secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani.
“NIMASA today has come a long way from the NIMASA I knew 10 years ago. I commend the entire management and staff of the agency for raising the bar. It is a symbol of teamwork. I am impressed with the customer experience centre and your efforts to attract young Nigerians into the maritime sector via various capacity development projects, including the essay competition for secondary school students.”
Commenting on the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), Sambo reiterated the commitment of the ministry to work with the agency in ensuring it is disbursed to deserving beneficiaries, adding that it will further boost shipping activities in the sector.
“If there is a jinx about the CVFF, I am going to break it by getting it disbursed to deserving Nigerians. If these funds are disbursed, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the Federal Ministry of Transportation will take credit, while it remains a legacy of your administration,” Sambo said.
He called for a more synergistic relationship between NIMASA and other parastatals under the supervision of the ministry, in addition to the Nigerian Navy and members of the Nigerian Armed forces to ensure the success of the Deep Blue Project.
On his part, the director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh thanked the minister for his dynamic leadership in steering the affairs of the ministry and assured him that the agency remains committed to actualising its mandate as stipulated in the four enabling Acts of the National assembly for a robust and attractive maritime sector in Nigeria.
He further used the opportunity to inform the minister of some of the activities of the agency in realising a robust maritime sector which includes obtaining approval for physical and monetary incentives for ship owners to purchase brand new vessels at zero duty and assisting them to get foreign exchange at the Central Bank of Nigeria rate, respectively. The move, according to the DG, is to help phase out old and rickety vessels from the nation’s waterways and encourage more participation in the Nigerian shipping industry.
The NIMASA DG informed the minister that under the Deep Blue Project, 600 Special Forces from the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, the Department of State Security, among others, are undergoing training for special skills to ensure effective implementation of the project. The intent is to ensure that the nation’s waterways remain safe from all forms of criminal activities.
Also, Jamoh informed the minister that over 2000 Nigerians have been trained as part of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) Scheme over 2,000 Nigerians have undergone training, out of which about 800 are actively engaged on various ships, with a huge number of them working on the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) ships. He added that NIMASA is developing a National Ship Building and Infrastructure Development Strategy aimed at bridging the gap of capacity-building for trained seafarers.
Other achievements listed include enhanced maritime safety administration through effective ports and flag states inspection on foreign and Nigerian flagged vessels, enforcement of safety regulations on barges and tug boats through ‘Operation Sting Ray’, reactivation of online seafarers certificate of competency verification platform and commenced activities towards ensuring GHG emission reduction in the maritime sector with an emphasis on achieving 0.5 per cent sulphur oxide (SO2) in ‘bunker fuel’ oil.
Also, Sambo embarked on a tour of the NIMASA Maritime Stakeholders experience Contact Center (MSEC). The 24-hour centre serves as a platform for both internal and external stakeholders to resolve any issue within the stipulated 24 hours.