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NIMASA cautions against creation of more agencies in maritime sector

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Dakuku Peterside, NIMASA Boss

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has warned that creating additional agencies in the sector would only overburden it with clashes of interest; adding that the existing ones should rather be strengthened for optimum service delivery.
  
The Director General, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, speaking at the 2018 Half Year Maritime Forecast Review in Lagos, said there are already complaints by ship owners that it is only in Nigeria that you have too many agencies interfacing directly with vessels calling at the Nation’s ports.
    
Peterside argued that to avoid duplication of duties and support the Ease of Doing Business agenda of the Federal Government, the Agency has a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Armed Forces.

It also has collaborations with the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian immigration service, the Nigerian Police, and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
   
He further said the current maritime regulatory agencies under the Ministry of Transportation have enough mandate to ensure safety and security in the sector. He added that the Nigerian Navy could not be allowed to board merchant vessels for regulatory activities according to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations, Merchant Shipping Act, and other regulatory instruments that are in line with global best practices.
   
“There is no way the Nigerian Navy can act as a regulator in the sector, and we have been working together especially in line with the MoU that exists between us to ensure security in the sector, which is in line with what the IMO stipulates,” he said.
   
He charged stakeholders to support the industry’s growth, stating that things are changing at an incredible pace, and that there is the need to support the current maritime agencies to dynamically position the sector for optimal benefits.
    
Meanwhile, on a regional scale, Peterside said partnership is a crucial element to the effective utilisation of Africa’s maritime resources, while also setting up a committee of stakeholders to map out strategies to develop the Nigeria’s Blue Economy.  
   
Speaking at the celebration of the African Day of Seas and Oceans held in Lagos, with the theme: “Partnership Key to a Sustainable Blue World,” Peterside stressed the need for African countries to collaborate, as this has become imperative to realise a common goal, geared towards the actualisation of the Blue Economy.
 
The Managing Director, Starz Marine and Engineering Services Limited, Greg Ogbeifun, said the world is beginning to go back to the original creation God blessed mankind with – the seas and the oceans.

He noted that Nigeria is at a vantage position with a good geographical location with about 900 km coastline, hence the need to work harmoniously to realise the blueprint of the AIMS 2050, with the overall goal of actualising the concept of the Blue Economy in Africa for continental economic growth.
    
Also speaking, a legal practitioner, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, said: “For Nigeria to develop a robust and sustainable maritime sector there is the need to prepare an all-inclusive framework and strategy based on the development strategies of the African Union in line with the AIMS 2050, Agenda 2063, Lome Charter, and the African Maritime Transport Charter.” 
   
An industry expert, Dr. Chris Asoluka, said “the only way to fully optimise the opportunities embeddd in the African seas and oceans is to work collaboratively as a continent, so that we can compete favourably with our counterparts in other continents.”


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