RIGHT OF REPLY: THISDAY BACKPAGE PUBLICATION
NIGERIAN MARIITME ADMINISTRATION AND SAFETY AGENCY, NIMASA
RIGHT OF REPLY: THISDAY BACKPAGE PUBLICATION
“Squandamania Nigeria Unlimited”. By Olusegun Adeniyi.
We thank you for giving us the right to reply to Mr Olusegun Adeniyi’s article in This Day publication of the 15th September 2022 titled ‘Squandermania Nigeria Unlimited’ and will proceed to present a concise but graphic depiction of relevant facts concerning the Modular Floating Dock (MFD NIMASA).
It is now a notorious fact that the Floating Dock was acquired to bridge the capacity gap in Nigeria’s ship repairs, shipbuilding and the training of student Marine Engineers during the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. As a result of its multi-fold objectives, there were some misunderstandings and apprehension about the custody, location and application of the Dock from conception.
Pursuant to the preceding, NIMASA established a gentleman’s understanding with the Nigerian Ports Authority to permanently berth and operate the shipyard upon arrival at NPA’s former Continental Shipyards, where a now-defunct floating dock belonging to a subsidiary of the NPA used to work.
Upon the arrival of the Floating Dock in Nigeria, a series of unexpected complications occurred. Firstly, the proposed berthing at the Continental Dockyard was no longer possible due to some technical challenges which did not manifest initially, forcing the Agency to approach the Nigerian Navy for temporary mooring of the marine equipment at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos.
Additionally, as various Government Agencies operated under their different enabling Laws, the Agency was confronted with a massive custom duty demand due to an increase in duty after the project had been planned and executed. This compelled NIMASA to approach the Federal Ministry of Finance for a duty waiver with the time-consuming process as we awaited approval from the highest authorities. In the meantime, the Agency had to grapple with the most efficient modality for deploying the MFD.
Recognizing as Mr Adeniyi did in his article that Government may not be the best manager of commercial operations, the Agency settled on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, which of course can only be implemented under the supervision of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC). The process for executing a PPP, as laid out in the ICRC Act of 2005, is detailed, rigorous and comprehensive. It is layered with stages of due diligence designed to protect the sanctity of public assets with a significant series of milestones and timelines.
In line with the ICRC Act, the Agency has, in the past two years, worked assiduously to achieve benchmarked stages of the process, which include: obtaining the Federal Government’s approval to deploy the FD under a PPP arrangement, preparation of Outline Business Case, technical assessment of available sites to determine the optimal location, identification of a competent Business Partner under a competitive process governed by the Procurement Act, negotiation under the auspices of the ICRC, evaluation of the technical and managerial capacities of the Business Partner, and issuance of Full Business Case in preparation for the final approval of the Federal Executive Council.
Similarly, the Agency has moved to the identified site to undertake preparatory processes such as the bathymetric and topographic survey of the site; We are also carrying out the installation of the mooring piles required for the successful relocation of the Floating Dock to site while the Floating Dock itself is being prepared for mooring via underwater inspections and procurement of required supplies.
While acknowledging the unfortunate loss of accruable revenue occasioned by the delay in the deployment of the floating dock, the Agency wishes to emphasize that this is mainly a collateral impact of our effort to follow due process, instill transparency by adopting a PPP model rather than attempting to manage the FD by itself and leverage on the efficiency and capacity of the preferred business partner.
In closing, NIMASA, as a Government Agency, recognizes that it should be capable and indeed willing to accept a measure of constructive criticism. We however feel constrained to offer a response to the publication, which in our respectful opinion, had innuendoes suggesting corruption and criminality and an unwillingness to undertake some basic research, which would have cleared some of the misconceptions under which the writer so obviously laboured.
We thank you for giving us this right of reply and anticipate that you will accord it equal prominence as that accorded the original article.
Head, Public Relations,
+234802 31 65371