The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said it is working toward boosting the country’s maritime operations for revenue generation and that it will further commit more energy in addressing all security issues on the nation’s territorial waters.
The Director General, DG, of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside in a keynote address at a one-day lecture titled ‘How to Improve Maritime and Allied Industries Revenue in a Depressed Economy’ organised by the League of Maritime Editors, said that it was because of the importance the agency attaches to having a secured maritime domain that was responsible for its partnership with the Nigerian Navy and others to achieve the best.
Peterside who was represented by Deputy Director, Cabotage Service, NIMASA, Capt Sunday Umoren, described security as key to all maritime revenue generation.
The DG, said that without having a secured maritime environment, vessels will shun Nigerian waters, a development, he said, will affect businesses and revenue from the sector.
He said that once shipowners notice that a country’s maritime domain was not secure, many of them will use the neighbouring ports, adding that this will promote transshipment at very high cost to the shippers and final consumers.
According to him, NIMASA had entered into Memorandum of Understandings, MOUs, with the Navy and others to ensure adequate security of ships coming to the country.
It is the responsibility of NIMASA to ensure that maritime domain is secure and safe. This we do to ensure that those coming to do business in Nigeria have confidence in us.
He also said that audit of maritime institution is being carried out by the agency to ensure that Nigerian seafarers were certified by the International Maritime Organisation.
This, he said will aid the exportation of seafarers’ to other countries as expatriates to earn foreign exchange.
Also speaking, a Lecturer from Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun, Mrs Helen Adekoga, said that journalists reporting maritime should look inwards and report the potential of the industry that could attract foreign investors.
She said that if foreign investors could make Nigeria their ports of destination, it would increase revenue generation for government.
The lecturer said that the media should focus on potential of the industry and report it regularly to help in changing people’s perception so that revenue would be diverted from oil into the maritime sector.
“Revenue from maritime can triple what the country is getting from the oil sector if it is well utilised,“ she said.
In his opening remark, the President of the League of Maritime Editors, Mr Ovie Edomi, expressed optimism that the Nigerian maritime sector had the potential to generate more revenue for the government if given more attention.
Edomi said, “it is pertinent for me to state at this stage that as Editors and Publishers, we saw this great nation in the era of oil boom to the extent that in the 70s, the Nigerian nation was thinking of what to do with her foreign reserve. Today the situation is different, the giant of Africa is in a recession. As Editors and watchdog of the society, we believe that there are vast opportunities/resources in the maritime industry. In fact, after oil the next highest source of generating revenue is the Maritime industry.
Some people argue that if Nigeria harnesses her Maritime potentials, the country can generate three times what the country currently generate from oil. If the experts say this, as gatekeepers and agenda setters, we feel that policy makers need to take a second look at peerless editorials, as well as opinions expressed by expert on the issue”.
A media expert, Mr Ayo Akinkuotu, in his paper urged Public Relations practitioners to watch their utterances while addressing media during crisis.
Akinkuotu, who is the Editor-in-Chief of Tell Magazine, said public relations practitioners had enormous role to play by putting in necessary measures to return normalcy to their organisations.
The public relations practitioners were expected to be on top of the social media, adding that they should not ignore the press and should try to be on top of every situation during crisis.
The Head of Corporate Communications Team of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hajia Lami Tumaka, commended the efforts of the organisers.
Tumaka advised the organisers not to be discouraged due to the recession, adding that one day, their efficiency would be rewarded.
“The recession the country is facing is affecting everybody. I will want the maritime media to report people’s views on solutions to the situation we found ourselves.
“The media should support NIMASA in searching for alternative means of getting revenue for government.
“It is encouraging now that every pieces of land nearby are being used for farming. I believe we will soon surmount the situation the country is going through.“