The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said the maritime industry and indeed the entire economy is being challenged with continuous issuance of cabotage waivers particularly to the oil firms operations.
To this end the agency will no longer issue waivers so that the industry and economy will not continue to experience decline.
According to a statement by Head, Corporate Communications, Isichei Osamgbi, Dakuku relayed the information to the Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) in Lagos, as he also called on industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the cessation of application for Cabotage waiver and also pursue the utilization of Nigerian-owned vessels for marine contracts.
“Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act. We also want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to have a joint categorization of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act.”
The statement further noted that in NIMASA’s bid to grow the industry, it would not hesitate to wield its powers where necessary, adding that the agency’s mandate is strictly regulatory.
Dakuku in a meeting, which was also attended by managing directors and representatives of major oil firms, including Total, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Agip amongst others noted that NIMASA preferred the method of engaging key players in the industry for symbiotic benefits as it will be cost effective for them to engage Nigerians.
“We don’t want to change our rules of engagement to a confrontational one because the mandate we have is that of the Nigerian people, to grow shipping for our economic benefits. In this wise, we urge you to cooperate and collaborate with us where necessary so that we can have an all-inclusive maritime sector,” the statement stated.
However on his own part, the Executive Director of OPTS, which comprises major oil companies, Bunmi Toyobo, said the trade section was ready to comply with all directives of NIMASA.