The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has charged management of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron Akwa Ibom State to produce qualified seafarers.
Amaechi gave the charge in Oron last week during the inauguration of some of the completed projects at the academy.
The minister urged management of the academy to look beyond building infrastructure and train qualified seafarers that could compete with their peers in other parts of the world.
He further called on the management of the academy to employ academic staff willing to live on campus to give the cadets proper training.
He said that the academy could not be compared with the maritime school in Egypt and Ghana as it did not lack resources.
According to him, what the academy requires is proper application of its resources.
“We need academic staff; when it comes to academy staff, they are not here.
“There is nothing you can pay me that will make me live in Oron.
“So you need to ensure that you encourage people to come and live in Oron to teach.
“And to encourage them, their take home pay must be interesting.
“If you can’t pay them outside what the civil service is paying, you can put allowances here and there that will encourage both foreigners and local lecturers to come.
“The next thing to do is to train your staff, get them to do Masters degree, to do PhD, paid for by the academy.
“In that case, they won’t leave here immediately; this is to enable us have qualified seafarers.
“We were established almost at the same time with the school in Egypt; we are not near them, we are not even near the one in Ghana.“What we lack is organisation in leadership; I don’t think this school lacks money.
“I think money for now, is not your problem because you have NIMASA to fund you; you have the Federal Government budget to fund you.“It is the application of the resources that is the problem,” he said.
Earlier, the Rector of the academy, Commodore Duja Effedua (rtd), said that the minister’s commitment saved the academy from collapse.
Effedua said that the current management of the academy inherited projects that were abandoned for more than 16 years and had to complete such projects to make the environment conducive for the cadets to learn.
According to him, the academy is acquiring training equipment that will enable the cadets to get proper training to be able to compete globally.
“During the 2017 World Maritime Day, stakeholders raised great concern about the falling standard of training in this academy.
“In his wisdom the minister set up an audit committee to review the performance of the academy, which afterwards were made an interim management committee for six months.
“We met a lot of challenges, especially from the communities; we had to make them realise that it was a government academy and not for the Community.
“When we came, we did not know the number of staff on the payroll (of the academy).
“So we had to conduct another audit to discover that instead of 840, we had 690 staffers,” he said.
Two blocks of classroom, a sports stadium, walk-through survival pool, ICT Centre, auditorium, Simulator Centre, and Library complex were inaugurated by the minister.
The 1,000-seater auditorium was named after Amaechi.