Pita Ochai

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has confirmed a recent improvement in security situation at the ports in the country. The Director General of the agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside, who made this known in an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo, noted that the security of vessels at the ports had improved from 12 per cent to 80 per cent.

He said, “What we have done today is that we have moved in terms of security which is codifying in the implementation of ISPS code. We have moved from 12 per cent where we met it, to 80 per cent compliance, meaning that security at the port vessel calling at our port has improved tremendously. Access by the United State code guide and by the Department of Transport in the United Kingdom,” the DG said.

The DG explained that the agency had to deal with reputation issues that had affected the agency at some points. According to him, the agency has created the necessary awareness that has made the maritime world to see NIMASA as a foremost maritime regulatory agency contributing to the economic growth of the country. “Before we joined the NIMASA team, the agency had a reputation problem, people knew NIMASA for the wrong reasons; we were in the media everyday,” he said.

Peterside said that the current management of the agency had also improved the standard of vessels calling at the port from 15 per cent to 65 per cent. “It is now difficult to find substandard vessels within our maritime space. “We have also taken up the issue of promotion, most of the time people focus on regulations of shipping, but we have now taken a bit of interest in the promotion of shipping, which is the second pillar of our mandate in NIMASA.”

The NIMASA boss added that the agency had engaged a number of stakeholders in the industry, including the Presidency, to ensure competitiveness, profitability, cost reduction in doing business, and adequate manpower in the country’s maritime space. “We are engaging the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and we have set up a technical committee,” Peterside said.

The director general said that the agency was pursuing the Federal Ministry of Finance and Customs to create a special tariff for the importation of vessels and its spare parts into the country. “The current regime will not make it competitive for average Nigerian stakeholder, who is in the business of bringing vessels or hiring vessels in the sector, ”he said.

Peterside said that the agency had engaged CBN to create a special digit interest facility for those who are in the shipping business, adding that it would help them access fund from CBN. “We have advanced in our conversation, we are now at the Presidency,” he said

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