The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that collaboration between the agency and stakeholders is required to develop a viable economy for Nigeria by maximizing God-given resources in the maritime sector. Peterside stated this at the weekend during what it called ‘Harmonised NIMASA-Stakeholders Interactive Forum’ in Lagos. The theme of the meeting was; "Synergy: An Instrument for Sustainable Development of the Blue Economy".
Peterside also said that the transport ministry has set up a committee to develop a blue economy policy for the country. He lamented that even though the maritime sector has what it takes to jump start the Nigerian economy, the numerous resources in the sector and its oceans remains untapped.
He assured that NIMASA would not only act as a regulator, but it is going to work with industry stakeholders to ensure safe maritime space, and see the that the sector yields the optimal benefit for all players. In his welcome address, the DG informed the seated stakeholders that "The era of praise singing is gone, we don't want to hear praise again, I believe we have had enough of it, we want to hear the raw and naked truth from stakeholders on the areas that we are not doing well" "The blue economy is multi dimensional and aimed at ensuring that the economy benefits from resources of the sea and ocean, for us as NIMASA and a maritime administration, we are going to work to put in place the right policy framework for players in the sector to benefit from human resources that are in the ocean" "The Nigerian Maritime space provided a veritable opportunity to jump start the economy and put it on the fast lane of growth" "The latest development is that we have taken a concrete step by getting the Federal Executive Council to approve Intergtated Maritime and Waterways Surveillance and Security System, it is a 195 million dollars investment, we believe that when it comes to full force by next year, we would see further drop in cases of piracy, we would be able to secure our maritime space and more persons would get involved in shipping and other maritime activities" "It means that we are going to acquire a number of hardware including an Intelligence gathering system. We are going to acquire a number of maritime patrol aircrafts, fast intervention vessels, security vessels, a command and control centre so that we can share information with the navy, marine police and the army and other stakeholders. We are not only going to build partnership within the country but within the Gulf of Guinea which spans outside our jurisdiction" he said On the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF), he assured that NIMASA is desirous of disbursing the fund to enable her grow tonnage and attract more local players, he however insisted that laid down regulations must be followed in doing so. "Some people say that NIMASA does not want to disburse the fund but we are only custodians of the fund, it is not our power disburse it, ours is just to advise, it is also in our best interests that it is disbursed" He ssid
Speaking earlier, Chairman of the NIMASA board of directors, Retired General India Garuba in a goodwill message called on maritime operators to join hands with NIMASA in building a blue economy for the nation.
He said that shipping is important on the life of a nation and the maritime stakeholders are part of the nation builders which the agency relies upon.
Also speaking, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Mallam Umaru Bago assured NIMASA and other stakeholders of support by making relevant laws to assist in maximizing the benefits of the maritime sector.