*As CVFF, insecurity top agenda
Lagos — STAKEHOLDERS yesterday at a meeting told Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, that they have a vested interest in his administration saying that “You cannot afford to fail the industry.”
Speaking at a dinner in honour of the newly appointed Director General of NIMASA, Capt Emmanuel Ihenacho, former Minister of State for Interior said that stakeholders in the maritime industry have a lot of vested interest in the current administration of the agency adding that they will follow him every step of the way so as to ensure that he remains focused to carry on with the agendas of the stakeholders.
Ihenacho also said that NIMASA has become to militarized adding that the agency of most militarized maritime administration in the world.
According to the former ship captain explained that NIMASA is not a revenue generating agency like the Federal Inland Revenue Service and as such we will not allow it to be like IRS.
He said: “One of the things we will warn you not to do is to think you can become an internal revenue generating agency and every year, you can say we took N16 billion that we could have given to ship owners back to government. We will not let that happen because there is a purpose for which that money was accrued. Look at the issue of CVFF. Roll out the guidelines of the CVFF and make it fair and equitable.
“We also want to remind you not to militarise NIMASA. There is nowhere in the world where maritime administration is enforced by people carrying gun. Also, remember the issue of adding value to our oil by allowing Nigeria tankers carry Nigeria oil.”
Former President, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Aminu Umar, urged Jamoh to address insecurity in Nigeria’s maritime domain and build indigenous capacity.
“One of the issues that have been on the front burner for shipping is piracy. We cannot discuss enough of the damage that piracy is doing to us presently in all the sectors of the maritime industry. We will love the DG and his management to put this as their top priority and promote, protect the interest of indigenous shipowners,” he said.
Also speaking, Chairman Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Hasstrup, sought the intervention of the NIMASA DG for tank farms owners to relocate from the access roads leading to the port owing to the challenges they pose to port operations.
Hasstrup said the concentration of tank farms within the port environment poses dangerous threat to the port businesses.
According to her, “What is waiting to happen in Apapa would be like a child’s play because we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. It is only in Nigeria that I see tank farms sitting in the middle of a city. We have almost 63 tankers sitting right in Apapa. Can you imagine if just one of the tank farms blows up? We need the tank farms to be relocated. I believe the DG has the ears of Mr. President, please help us tell him to relocate the tank farms far away from here.”
On her part, Chairman, Shipowners Forum, Magret Orakwusi, urged the NIMASA boss to revive the moribund Nigerian Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) to enable operators showcase the potentials of the industry to investors.
“We need investors to showcase our potentials. We need to have NIMAREX all over again and I want you to tackle that because you are most senior and experience person that has now taken over the control of NIMASA. So NIMASA should be in the fore front of doing that,” she said.
In his reponse, the Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh expressed appreciation to the confidence reposed in him by industry stakeholders, vowing that he will not fail them.
Speaking at his maiden meeting with industry stakeholders comprising ship-owners, past Director Generals of NIMASA, seaport terminal operators amongst others at a reception held in his honour in Lagos on Wednesday, Jamoh said that the task ahead in repositioning the agency is not an easy one calling on stakeholders to collaborate and support his administration.
He assured that NIMASA under his watch would work within the mandate of the agency to meet the aspirations’ of stakeholders.
He said, “The task ahead is not an easy one. We recorded a number of success in the last dispensation but to be sincere, I can now see where we are lacking because of what Captain Iheanacho told me and I have come to realize that there is need to realign and reposition our own way of doing things to match the thinking and aspirations of the stakeholders.
“If we decide to do things the way we feel it is right without consultation, I think we will continue to be where we are today with the stakeholders talking different language and the regulators talking different language. At the end, we will find ourselves in dilemma where no one can say this is right or this is wrong because we will continue to do our propaganda using media.
“We have our own mandate. We need your assistance and support to be able to actualize 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.”