By Chinonye Anyatonwu.
All is set for the flag-off of an intensive wreck removal exercise in Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The Agency’s Director-General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this during a Ministerial retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) in Lagos.
Dr. Jamoh also said arrangements had been concluded for the recycling of wrecks and derelicts recovered from the waters in partnership with Bayelsa State Government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which already has a foundry in Lagos for wrecks recycling, with the ultimate aim of creating wealth from waste while providing jobs for Nigerians.
Speaking at the opening of the retreat, Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, said the two-day event was organised to assess the performance of the Agencies under the Ministry in order to enhance efficiency of service delivery to Nigerians.
In his statement, “We are here to assess the progress made so far in the maritime sector in order to enhance efficiency in our operations.
“This administration has achieved a lot in areas, such as rail transportation, port operations, maritime safety, and security, among others, and our goal is to do more to enhance productivity.”
The NIMASA DG appreciated the Minister for approving the creation of the Maritime Intelligence Unit and the NIMASA Maritime Stakeholders Experience Contact Centre (MSECC), which are both initiatives to improve intelligence gathering and enhance stakeholders’ communication to ensure sustainable growth of the country’s maritime industry.
He also disclosed that the automation drive in the Agency had led to the integrated use of technology in the Certificate of Competency (CoC) verification process, which has seen a fall in manual verification practice.
Jamoh said, “In 2020, the number of manual verification of CoCs dropped from 4,112 in 2019 to 2,750, representing 33 per cent drop in manual certificate verification. There was a total online verification of 9,723 in 2020.”
On disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), Jamoh said NIMASA was working with the Ministry to resolve all grey areas and ensure seamless distribution of the Fund.
According to the DG, “The CVFF is in the Treasury Single Account and there are guidelines for the disbursement, one of which is the use of Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs).
“We have advertised for Expression of Interest from interested PLIs and we are following due process to ensure disbursement according to the guidelines. Eleven banks have been shortlisted and forwarded to our supervising Ministry for further actions. The Ministry has identified some grey areas, which are being addressed to ensure prompt disbursement of the CVFF.”
Dr Jamoh also commented on the NSDP programme, saying 446 beneficiaries of the programme are currently undergoing sea-time training, while 351 have been assigned to maritime training institutes and are in the process of boarding for sea-time.
He added that 93 beneficiaries of the NSDP were currently undergoing CoC, 360 had completed sea-time training and were awaiting CoC issuance, while 368 beneficiaries of the NSDP project were already fully employed.
On the issue of Vessel Monitoring and response to distress calls in the sub-region, Jamoh stated that the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment at Tarkwa Bay and Kirikiri, both in Lagos, were fully installed with the capacity to cover nine countries in the West and Central African Region.
The Ministerial retreat, the second this year, had in attendance the Honourable Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello Koko; and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime. Directors from the FMOT and the three Agencies also attended.
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