The newly appointed director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry that he and members of his management team will not fail them.
Dr Jamoh, a former executive director, Finance and Administration of the agency however, appreciated the stakeholders for the confidence reposed in him.
Speaking at stakeholders’ reception comprising ship-owners, past Director Generals of the agency, seaport terminal operators, shipping companies, truck owners among others held on Wednesday, Jamoh said the task ahead is to reposition and realign the agency to meet the current yearnings of the stakeholders and operators in the industry.
According to him, the task ahead is not an easy one calling on stakeholders to collaborate and support his administration.
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 realise 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 actualise 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.”
Industry stakeholders present at the event took turn to applaud the appointment of Jamoh, expressing hope that his appointment, given with his years and wealth of experience will attract more development to the industry.
Former Minister of Interior and Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, said Jamoh’s appointment was in answer to the prayers of the industry stakeholders who had yearned for an insider to properly position the agency to achieve its mandate.
Iheanacho, urged Jamoh to focus more on the regulatory mandate of the agency instead of revenue generation while ensuring that the guidelines set up for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) is fair and equitable to assist indigenous operators.
According to him, “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 guns. Also, remember the issue of adding value to our oil by allowing Nigeria tankers to carry our oil.
Former President, Nigerian Ship-owners 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, promote and 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 a 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 to 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 experienced person that has now taken over the control of NIMASA. So NIMASA should be in the forefront of doing that,” she said
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