SGF Says Government Has Repositioned Maritime Industry 

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Yemisi Izuora

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha has exerted energy in repositioning the maritime sector.

He said this was achieved with the collaboration of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

 Mustapha said such development had also made the maritime sector a new attraction for investors.

The SGF, who spoke at the NIMASA Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos pointed out the nation was beginning to see another opportunity through which it could harness its vast resources.

Mustapha, who was represented by the Honourable Minister of Budget, Senator Udo Udoma, equally noted that the current Management of NIMASA had in about three years of President Buhari’s Administration turned around the Agency and placed it on a good position to continue to contribute to the growth of the economy. He also used the opportunity to congratulate and urge the awardees and the industry stakeholders to remain focused in supporting the Federal Government’s drive to take Nigeria’s economy to greater height.

“The DG and his team and the Board are doing well in NIMASA. They have transformed the organisation. I will also like to congratulate the Minister of Transportation because it is through his guidance and supervision that all these transformations have taken place. He is an action man, somebody that makes things happen.

I will like to congratulate all the award winners; you should all keep up the good work” Senator Udoma said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside reiterated the fact that the maritime industry remains the backbone of international trade and that the Nigerian maritime sector has made remarkable achievements in the last two years.

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Speaking further, he also noted that despite the challenges being faced in the sector, the stakeholders’ commitment, professionalism and resilience are the reasons the Agency is doing well.

“The Nigerian maritime sector is on a journey, we are not where we are going yet, hence we need the continuous support of our stakeholders in our quest to realize a robust maritime sector, so that we can compete favourably with our counterparts in other maritime climes,” Dr. Dakuku said.

Dr. Dakuku, who used the opportunity to congratulate the awardees, charged them to redouble their efforts in the discharge of the duties and functions in the maritime sector so that the greater successes will be recorded in the coming years.

He also applauded the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi for consistently providing direction for the transportation sector and gave the assurance that NIMASA will continue to champion the growth and development of the shipping industry in Nigeria. “We cannot do it alone, we will continue to collaborate and partner our stakeholders so that we can fully realize our mandates of promoting and regulating shipping activities in Nigeria,” he said.

In recognition of the numerous contributions of Stakeholders to the growth and development of the maritime sector in Nigeria, the Agency bestowed awards on outstanding maritime companies; Maersk Nigeria Limited, Gulf Agency Company (GAC) Nigeria Ltd, Charkins Maritime and Offshore Safety Centre among others, alongside some Staff of the Agency who have demonstrated commitment to the sector over the years.

The categories of awards bestowed includes; Shipping Company of the Year 2018 Vessel Traffic (Foreign), Shipping Company of the Year 2018, Cargo Throughput (Foreign), Maritime Education and Training Institute of the Year 2018, Manning Agent of the Year 2018, Seafarers’ Employer of the Year 2018 as well as the Agency’s best staff for the year and some others who have meritoriously served the agency for numerous years amongst others.

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It may be recalled that the Management of NIMASS in in the past year has through collaboration recorded several milestones. Among them are the provision of sea time for over 500 cadets; the arrival of the modular floating dockyard that will create capacity and help retain multimillion of dollars in-country through vessel maintenance; midwifing of the collective bargaining agreement for industrial harmony with improved wages and entitlements for maritime workers.

The Agency also championed the change of terms of trade from Free on Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF), to enable local participation of Nigerian shipping firms in the crude oil business to create wealth and employment; and for the first time, NIMASA initiated a maritime industry forecast aimed at providing direction for industry players.

Ahead of the award ceremony, a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar averred that the maritime sector is well positioned as an alternative source of revenue for the Nigerian economy and also commended efforts by the Agency to motivate stakeholders and staff. He said this would help them take advantage of the policies in place to invest and grow the economy.

”It is time to develop other alternative sources of revenue for the nation and the maritime sector is well positioned to do so. What NIMASA is doing in the industry and the Awards are quite in line to motivate stakeholders and staff to take advantage of the policies in place to invest and grow the economy,” General Abubakar said.

 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and the Group Executive Vice Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi also joined other stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime sector to hail fresh initiatives by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) towards realisation of a robust maritime industry.

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Dangote expressed delight in the achievements the maritime sector had attained in recent times and applauded the leading role NIMASA was playing to ensure an all-inclusive administration of the sector.

“We are proud of the modest achievements the maritime sector has attained in recent times. NIMASA has continued to take the lead by providing direction for operators in the industry. On our part, we will continue to support the Agency’s drive to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector,” Dangote said.

Dr. Taiwo Afolabi of the SIFAX Group on his part said the NIMASA maritime awards ceremony will go a long way in propelling industry players to make more effort towards achieving a robust maritime sector.

The high point was the presentation of a plaque and cheque of One Million Naira to the best staff of the year, 2018; Mr. Abraham Iseghohi from the Western Zone Office of the Agency.

The NIMASA dinner and awards night is an initiative to reward and recognize industry players and staff who have put in quality years of service and to encourage hard work amongst staff of the Agency.

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