Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has announced over 7 000 job posts in the maritime sector through the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy.
Dakuku told journalists on Thursday, 13 June 2019, in Lagos that the agency had come up with strategies that had ensured a steady rise in the number of jobs created through manning, crewing, stevedoring, and dockworkers engagement.
This, he said, had positioned the maritime industry as one of the key sectors that would support the realisation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s pronouncement during his Democracy Day broadcast of bringing 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years, as maritime possesses a vast opportunity for our economic growth.
According to him, the implementation of a five-year plan for the cessation of waiver has encouraged the employment of more Nigerians by vessel owners.
He said the effect of the new Cabotage regime was still yielding positive results, as “more Nigerians are set to be engaged in various sub-sectors of the maritime industry due to the discouragement of the dominance of the sector by foreigners”.
“We have always known that the political will to deal with the issue of waivers in the Cabotage regime had been the challenge in the past. Our pronouncement and implementation of the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy has led to the engagement of over 7 000 Nigerians in various sub-sectors within the industry. This has also resulted in 32 percent increase in vessels operating under the Cabotage regime in the first two quarters of 2019,” he said.
Detailing the achievements of NIMASA, Dakuku said that the agency had inspected and surveyed over 600 vessels calling at Nigerian ports, an unprecedented feat, which he said, showed that Nigeria was alive to its port state and flag state responsibilities.
He said the increased inspection and survey had ensured that sub-standard vessels no longer call at Nigerian ports, which has also improved safety on Nigerian waters.
The Director General also pointed out that in line with the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the President Buhari administration, “it now takes less than 24 hours to issue sailing clearance to vessels that call at Nigerian ports, from about seven days at the time the current management of NIMASA came on board”.
He noted that this had greatly improved vessel turnaround time and made Nigerian ports more attractive.
Dakuku said the agency was taking strategic steps to deal with the issue of piracy, disclosing that the Antipiracy bill sponsored by NIMASA had been passed by the National Assembly and as soon as it gets the required Executive assent, it would help tame the piracy monster and open up more opportunities in the sector.
He stated that though the steps taken were challenging, the agency was committed to ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment to promote participation in maritime business.