NIMASA Set To Begin Wrecks Removal
…Clarifies CVFF Disbursement, NSDP, others
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, all is set for the flag-off of an intensive wrecks removal exercise in Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Director-General, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed.
Making above disclosure during a Ministerial retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) in Lagos last week, Jamoh also said arrangements had been concluded for the recycling of wrecks and derelicts recovered from the waters in partnership with Bayelsa State Government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
This is even as the agency has provided clarifications on the disbursement of the controversial Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), and other critical issues in the front burner.
A statement by the agency signed by its Assistant Director Public Relations, Edward Osagie, and made available to our reporter, the NIMASA helmsman explained that the wrecks recycling will be done at a Lagos based foundry jointly owned by the NRC and Bayelsa State; noting that ultimate aim of the wrecks recycling is to create wealth from waste while providing jobs for Nigerians.
Speaking at the opening of the retreat, Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, said the two-day event was organised to assess the performance of the Agencies under the Ministry in order to enhance efficiency of service delivery to Nigerians.
Amaechi stated, “We are here to assess the progress made so far in the maritime sector in order to enhance efficiency in our operations. This administration has achieved a lot in many areas, such as rail transportation, port operations, maritime safety, and security, among others, and our goal is to do more to enhance productivity.”
The NIMASA DG appreciated the Minister for approving the creation of the Maritime Intelligence Unit and the NIMASA Maritime Stakeholders Experience Contact Centre (MSECC), designed to improve intelligence gathering and enhance stakeholders’ communication; and to ensure sustainable growth of the country’s maritime industry.
He said that the automation drive in the Agency had led to the integrated use of technology in the Certificate of Competency (CoC) verification process, which has seen a fall in manual verification practice.
“In 2020, the number of manual verification of CoCs dropped from 4,112 in 2019 to 2,750, representing 33 per cent drop in manual certificate verification. There was a total online verification of 9,723 in 2020”, Jamoh said.
On disbursement of the CVFF, Jamoh said NIMASA was working with the Ministry to resolve all grey areas and ensure seamless distribution of the Fund.
According to the DG, “The CVFF is in the Treasury Single Account and there are guidelines for the disbursement, one of which is the use of Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs).
“We have advertised for Expression of Interest from interested PLIs and we are following due process to ensure disbursement according to the guidelines. Eleven banks have been shortlisted and forwarded to our supervising Ministry for further actions. The Ministry has identified some grey areas, which are being addressed to ensure prompt disbursement of the CVFF.”
Jamoh also commented on the NSDP programme, saying 446 beneficiaries of the programme are currently undergoing sea-time training, while 351 have been assigned to maritime training institutes and are in the process of boarding for sea-time. He added that 93 beneficiaries of the NSDP were currently undergoing CoC, 360 had completed sea-time training and were awaiting CoC issuance, while 368 beneficiaries of the NSDP project were already fully employed.
On the issue of Vessel Monitoring and response to distress calls in the sub-region, Jamoh stated that the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment at Tarkwa Bay and Kirikiri, both in Lagos, were fully installed with the capacity to cover nine countries in the West and Central African Region.
The Ministerial retreat, the second this year, had in attendance the Honourable Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko; and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime. Directors from the FMOT and the three Agencies also attended.