The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that the agency is pushing for a single data window system of all activities in the Nigerian maritime sector in such a way that data required will be available on a single platform, as a maritime data bank to help engender the country's rapid economic growth.
Peterside who stated this in Lagos yesterday at an interactive session with journalists also noted that the Nigerian maritime sector, which currently provides over 100,000 direct jobs with multiplier effects of over two million jobs, deserves adequate mention in the statistics released monthly by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). "We are pushing for a single data window system in the maritime sector, whereby NIMASA, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and other relevant government agencies in the sector will share a common platform for data on all vessels calling at our ports and the activities. This will make it easy for the National Bureau of Statistics to capture the contributions of the maritime sector and the GDP of the country to enable those who make use of the figures to grow the economy achieve better results," he said.
Speaking on the survey and inspection of vessels at Nigerian ports, he said the fast intervention vessels the agency leased last year has led to an increase in Port, flag and coastal state control inspections, which he noted has increased by over 10.3, 33.3 and 27 per cent respectively in 2018 than the same period in the previous year.
This is just as the agency has taken drastic action to ensure that substandard vessels do not ply and endanger our waters.
"Nigeria is no longer conducive for substandard vessels, because they know that we are more vigilant and by this we are ensuring the protection of our environment. We are strict on enforcement of standards and the international fleet feels more comfortable with our maritime terrain", the DG said.
Commenting on the issue of placing beneficiaries of the agency's Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) onboard ocean going vessels for their mandatory sea-time training, he disclosed that currently a total number of 289 cadets have commenced their training in Egypt and the United Kingdom on NIMASA full sponsorship. He also used the opportunity to assure all beneficiaries of the scheme that the Agency will ensure they all complete their mandatory sea-time training in due course.
He pointed out further that the Agency is working with the IMO as technical partners to improve the quality of graduates from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron; this is to ensure that graduates from MAN, Oron and other maritime institutions are employable.
Dakuku also said the agency is working with a shipping firm in the United Arab Emirates UAE to give 100 Nigerian Seafarers sea time training spread over 10 years.
In the area of security on the nation's territorial waters, the NIMASA DG said that the Agency is addressing it through the NIMASA total spectrum maritime security strategy, which includes investment on intelligence and partnership with the Nigerian Navy, building of Nigeria's response capabilities with the use of Fast Intervention Vessels and the review of our laws, especially the anti-piracy bill which will give the Agency the legal backing to prosecute issues relating to piracy on our waters.
He also hinted that the Agency has been able to plug all loopholes through the automation of its processes, as there is no more room for human interface, thereby curbing any form of corrupt practices. This, he said has also assisted the Agency to contribute substantially to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government.
While noting that ratings on transparency and accountability by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), shows NIMASA has improved tremendously, Dr Dakuku said that the target is to be amongst the first three government agencies in the next rating.
Also speaking on the recently reviewed 2018-2019 maritime forecast, Dr. Dakuku noted that the projected 1.8 to 2.5 per cent growth in the sector can only take place when all avenues or windows are explored to grow the industry.