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Government moves to audit NIMASA, NPA accounts

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Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (left); receiving the report of the Ministerial Committee on National Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) from the Committee chairman and Director-General of the agency, Dakuku Peterside, in Abuja.

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (left); receiving the report of the Ministerial Committee on National Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) from the Committee chairman and Director-General of the agency, Dakuku Peterside, in Abuja.

The Federal Government has commenced arrangements to audit the financial accounts and technical operations of the Nigeria Maritime and Security Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in a bid to reposition the agencies for better efficiency.

Minister of Transportation, Chuibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this when he received the Ministerial Committee on NIMASA for Restructuring and Effective Performance in Abuja, said when repositioned, NIMASA would generate more income for government and improve on quality service delivery.

According to him, the Federal Government is already in the process of appointing an auditor to audit two major maritime agencies, identify the grey areas and chart a course for growth and development.

Amaechi, who expressed his displeasure about the poor performance of the agency said: “One of the reasons why I set up the committee was my visit to NIMASA. I asked a question, what does NIMASA do? They had what they call “Search and Rescue Centre,” they also had what they call “Search and Rescue Clinic”.

“If you go there, even when I asked the lady doctor who was there, I said do you work here? She said yes, and I asked again, do you like this place? She said no. Now, all the billions we hear, may be it is right, may be it is wrong, that is what I need to know when the auditor goes round. We are in the process of appointing an auditor to audit NIMASA, NPA…Maybe when the auditor goes round and comes back, the responsibility of the matter will be clearer”.

“If you go to their office near kirikiri, that is worse. It was actually as if you are in kirikiri itself. They had a resource centre and there was nothing there, they had a poor library and I said to myself what is NIMASA actually all about? So the essence of setting up this committee was to actually know what NIMASA is all about. It is not to witch- hunt anybody. We should ask ourselves the question, has NIMASA at any point in time discharged its responsibility beyond collection of revenue? And all those revenue that NIMASA has collected, where are they? What did they do with the revenue?

“We need to ask all these questions. So the essence of setting up this committee is to see how we can reposition NIMASA to perform its responsibility to the benefit of Nigerians. And if you are raising revenue and collecting revenue we need to ensure that beyond using the money according to the approved budget, the remaining fund should be discharged and sent back to the Federal Government, but we don’t see that. Thank God that a ‘change government’ has been put in place. There has to be a change in NIMASA. The change shouldn’t be only in the ministry of transportation it should also be in NIMASA.

“The way things are in NIMASA is such that people don’t even go to work. Ordinarily, my usual reaction was to go and implement the report but I want to study it myself to know what actually NIMASA is all about, then I can call a management meeting of the Ministry of Transportation so we can take a decision so that the Director General of NIMASA will go and implement”, he said.

Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, said, the committee had critically studied the operations of NIMASA and come up with recommendations that would make it operate in an efficient and effective manner and ultimately make Nigeria the hub of maritime industry in West Africa.

He said: “We will just give you a few highlight of the report. The Committee you inaugurated sub- divided ourselves into three focus areas. First is governance structure for NIMASA, the other one is the issue of image and perception, the third one is the core functions of NIMASA viz a viz manpower and staffing inadequacies”.

“We acknowledge as a fact that NIMASA derived its powers from three principal legislation, the Merchant shipping act, the Cabotage act, and the NIMASA act. We also looked at those acts and reviewed them extensively .At the end of the day the committee is of the opinion that if NIMASA must perform optimally, we need to change the current structure of NIMASA. We also recommend that NIMASA devolve more power to the zones. In addition, we also recommended some drastic changes in the modus operandi of NIMASA”.

He explained that the committee did a comparative analysis of maritime administration across the globe such as Singapore, Malasia, Motal, Liberia and several other maritime administrations.

“We had discussions with those who work in NIMASA, we also had series of engagement with stakeholders. After this diligent work we came to the conclusion that in your humble determination to bring about change in NIMASA, a few necessary changes must be made, and hose changes are inevitable,” he said.


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