What Captain Adewale Ishola (Master mariner)
The DG recently marked his 100 days in office and we congratulate him for that and at the same time we want to encourage him to make his mark in the industry, he has started in the right direction especially the CVFF which have been kept in the account for a long time, at least they have now started to disburse the funds to those who are qualified to take part in it, I think that is a right step in the right direction.
The second aspect is the issue of Cabotage monitoring, I am also happy that he has taken another step by having a memorandum of understanding with ISAN because its like ISAN is indirectly doing NIMASA’s job by arresting vessels violating the Cabotage law, so it is good if both of them work together, it’s for the good of the country and also for the economy.
Another area I think he will have to work hard on is that of maritime security, and we are happy that there is an ongoing ISPS implementation conference for West, Central and East Africa which is to assist us on maritime safety, we thank God that the problem in the Niger Delta region has subsided and this will boost shipping now.
In the area of training, it has kicked off even though he met the programme on ground, he should still go out to talk to the governors of other states where we went last year so that they will put it in their 2010 budget as they have promised, it is Nigerians they are training and its for the future of the country, it’s the government that trained us to where we are today and we are useful to the country today.
Eugene Nweke (Vice president, NAGAFF)
There is an enormous job ahead of the DG, and as a professional we can see that he is moving because for him to have signed out the CVFF shows that he understands the job unlike his predecessor who just sat on the whole thing and was compromising. My candid advice is that he should not be involved in unnecessary politics because the problem of the establishment is politics, they play a lot into the hands of government and at the end they will not do anything, government should realize that whatever NIMASA does as far as maritime is concern has implications not only in Nigeria but also in the international arena. I really commend Omatseye because I can now see the relationship between him and the man at Oron, we must be training seafarers and give them the logistics; if possible let more academies be opened up, these are what should attract his interest.
It’s a good thing if the indigenous ship owners can acquire vessels under Cabotage arrangement, very soon the money will circulate in the economy and touch the lives of other people.
The DG should not border himself with the issue of who regulates the port and so on, the act is very clear so he should go ahead and do what he want to do as a professional so that within his tenure we can see changes, he should not be afraid of whether he will be removed or not, he should do what is meaningful to Nigerians.
Demola Irinyemi (Registrar, IFFN)
I want to first of all commend the DG for starting on a good ground by focusing on the urgent needs that will aid the advancement of the agency. The challenge that will be before him is the implementation of the Cabotage Act, the second is the development of the human capacity, there should be an intensified effort in developing seafarers for the industry.
Apart from that, there must be efforts to ensure that NIMASA is responsive to other functions she is saddled with in the aspect of safety on the water ways.
On the CVFF, I know the challenge before him will be that of ‘who gets this fund’ but I would advice that he should do the job professionally not minding whose horse is gored, and also ensure that the right people are given the money so that they can help in developing the industry and all the credits goes to him in the future, if the fund is given to the right people, I believe they will develop the Cabotage.
Mazi Joseph Anabaraonye (Registrar, FFAN)
An area that I will want him to focus on is Cabotage, the fund is out now and he must make all arrangements to make sure that the fund gets to the people that actually need it, because there are lots of people that will want to have access to this fund when they don’t really have any business with it and some of them might get it because they have political influence in one way or the other, so it is only people that are into shipping, that have the knowledge but do not have the capital are the ones they should give it to.
I believe that the DG has been very close to the industry before he was appointed into the position and from the things I see him doing I think he is trying his best, but I still believe that more is required, he should be focused, dedicated and he should place the funds where they are necessary, there are going to be distractions but he must not forget that he has a major objective which is maritime development. It is good that we are talking of vessel acquisition but we must also know that these vessels need seafarers, so we must also develop the human capacity and resources that will operate these vessels.
0wolabi Omotayo (water transporter)
The DG has been proactive, innovative and focused; he should keep it up and make sure he surrounds himself with good advisers. In the area of shipping, he should create an avenue whereby our indigenous ship owners can own new vessels so that they can effectively compete with the foreign ship owners. Unlike before when some people c money to acquire second hand vessels that are not even good for charter, he should make sure that this time around, any shipping company that this money is being given to is monitored properly by the necessary regulatory bodies like the EFCC to make sure that the money is used for the purpose that they are meant for.
If we want to get it right this time around we should ensure that the rules are followed, business should not be as usual. If the sector is developed properly it creates more employments especially for our seafarers and also empowering our indigenous ship owners to compete.
The man is really trying because I have been following his activities, he is really a professional and I think he should listen more to advices not minding where they are coming from, he should be a good listener and allow people to give him suggestions. Also he should not forget the shipping trawlers as well; nobody should be neglected including the water transporters because they all contribute to the system.