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NIMASA DG lists incentives to boost Nigeria’s maritime sector

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NIMASA DG lists incentives to boost Nigeria’s maritime sector

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) Director General Dr Bashir Jamoh said the federal government was working to revive the national maritime fleet with transport rights of up to 50% of all cargoes owned by the Crown.

Jamo made this known during his presentation on “Maritime Safety Administration and the Growth of the Nigerian Economy in the 21st Century” at a seminar on Civil Service Reforms (BPSR) on Thursday at Abuja.

He was represented by Aladenusi, Director of Maritime Safety, NIMASA.

According to him, NIMASA has modernized and reformed the Nigerian vessel registry to support the growth of the national tonnage and the development of the fleet.

He said that besides flag protection, the government has provided several incentives to Nigerian flag vessels.

“As of the second quarter of 2019, Nigeria has led the ranking of port and flag states and control responsibilities in the West and Central Africa sub-region.

“Significant reduction in the time required to set up a business in Nigeria, significant reduction in the cost of the procedure for setting up a business, facilitation of maritime traffic thanks to the ratification of the FAL and of the convention with concrete measures for its domestication”, did he declare.

Jamoh said recent ongoing developments included a memorandum of understanding with Maritime Academy India to provide time at sea for trained cadets, the Nigerian Sailor Development Program (NSDP) and sailor training.

The managing director added that they were also working together to further develop human capacity and the workforce locally.

“To date, NIMASA has trained over 2,000 Nigerians under the NSDP program at various maritime training institutes.

“NIMASA led the first Nigerian Maritime Industry Forecast which highlighted major developments in the Nigerian economy as well as the maritime industry.

“And offered a perspective on the key metrics that guide companies in the industry during the 2018-2019 period and has continued to champion these economic prospects to this day,” he added.

Jamoh said the agency has improved investor relations by connecting Nigerian shipping operators with their international counterparts to facilitate trade negotiations and agreements.

The managing director also said that they have established a national fleet and a national carrier, as Nigeria has a comparative advantage in freight production.

He noted that about 70 percent of all maritime trade in West and Central Africa was handled in Nigeria.

Jamoh noted that there was enhanced maritime awareness and surveillance capacity to deal with insecurity issues in Nigerian waters.

He added that the government is working to regulate all the odious and multiple charges and taxes that suffocate the business environment.

The managing director said the agency had significantly lowered its benchmark freight rates to meet the aspirations of Nigeria’s maritime business community.

He further said the agency has been lenient in classifying the entire route of ships into five major routes to determine its charges, which is to the benefit of shippers.

Jamoh said Nigeria has significantly reduced the number of agencies in its ports from 28 to nine, adding that this has significantly reduced delays resulting from interfacing with multiple agencies in ports.

“The government has significantly reduced the number of agencies in its ports and this has significantly reduced the delays resulting from interfacing with multiple agencies in ports.

“There are now joint boarding agencies for vessels for regulatory compliance, controls.

“The Nigerian Customs one-stop-shop platform also facilitates information sharing for relevant government agencies, as required by the FAL Convention.

“The government has also expedited the start of a business to register a business with the Trade Commission and allow electronic stamping of registration documents,” he said.

Jamoh said the government has embraced private sector participation in addressing the infrastructure deficit in the maritime sector through privatization programs and public-private partnerships.

He said other major interventions were the provision of a legal framework to combat piracy and other maritime crimes, as well as a comprehensive maritime security architecture and the recently launched Deep Blue project by Buhari.

He explained that the Deep Blue project was an integrated national surveillance and waterway protection solution with command and control infrastructure to increase surveillance and compliance enforcement in Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

He said this is becoming imperative due to the illegal activities which have increased and intensified in the Gulf of Guinea in recent times.

Deep Blue’s assets included: marine assets, special mission ships, interception air assets, special mission aircraft, unmanned aerial vessels, helicopters.

He said the land assets had armored vehicles, a response team; the “C4I Asset” – Command and control, computer; Communication and information center, with a bird’s eye view of land, sea and air space.

The CEO announced that Nigeria was the first in West and Central Africa to meet international piracy law requirements.

He explained that these bold steps have been widely hailed and seen as having led to a drop in maritime crime incidents in the Gulf of Guinea since the second quarter of 2019.

Jamoh listed other areas that NIMASA has cooperated with to improve security, including: naval forces in the Gulf of Guinea, cooperation with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies.

The director general said they were also in partnership with the International Police Organization (Interpol) and had conducted joint enforcement operations with the US Coast Guard.

He added that they were in the process of creating a legal framework to fight maritime crime.

Earlier, BPRS Director General Mr. Dasuki Arabi said the topic chosen for discussion was timely and relevant given the crucial role the maritime sector plays in the overall development of the Nigerian economy.

According to him, piracy has been a major problem for Nigeria’s maritime and port economy and has negatively impacted and deterred potential investors in Nigeria’s maritime sector.

“There is a need to improve the efficiency of maritime operations in Nigeria to improve global competitiveness.

“Agencies like the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency have a responsibility to improve the predictability and transparency of maritime and port operations.

“This will enable confidence and growth in the sector, which in turn will bring and increase income and economic development in Nigeria,” he said.

He noted that public services across the world have always been constrained by the imperative of modernization necessary to achieve institutional vitality and readiness to face present and future administrative challenges.

Arabi said the office was established primarily for the initiation, coordination, monitoring and ensuring the full implementation of government reform policies and programs.

He said they have been monitoring and working with NIMASA to achieve its stated goals in the areas of efficiency and effectiveness of services for positive results.

The Director General expressed his gratitude to President Buhari for the opportunity to serve as an institutional platform for the implementation and coordination of sustainable reforms in the country.

Arabi also thanked the secretary of the Federation government, who chairs the steering committee on reforms, as well as the co-chair, the head of the federation’s civil service, for their continued support to the office.

Source: NAN

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