NIMASA D-G urges WISTA to join in re-floating National Shipping Line

 Dakuku Peterside

Dakuku Peterside

The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has urged Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) to contribute to model to be adopted by the Committee on new National carrier fleet.

Peterside made the plea in a message to the Annual Business Luncheon of WISTA held in Lagos.

The director-general, who was represented by the Director, Administration in NIMASA, Mr Ibrahim Jubril, said that there was sustainable career platform by continuous training of cadets in the country.

He said that there was need to get cadets from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom, on board ships for sea time training.

Peterside said that establishment of the National fleet would solve the sea time training problem facing Nigerian trained cadets.

“Nigeria is turning out graduates yearly from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria and we do not have platform to engage them on sea time training.

“It is pathetic that we are still where we are because we have all advantages to have cargoes but yet we do not control shipping.

“We see ourselves importing through the neighbouring countries. We have had so many things done wrong in shipping business in Nigeria.

“Establishment of the national fleet will correct all the wrongs and more benefits would accrue to compete with international shipping countries, ‘’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes him as saying.

He, however, commended WISTA for continuous efforts being made by its members in mentoring younger generation who would take over the industry from the present generation.

Peterside described WISTA as one of the key powers that would develop shipping Industry in Nigeria, adding that very soon, WISTA would produce the first female Minister of Transportation in Nigeria.

He said that WISTA had produced Mrs Ufon Usoro, the former Director-General of NIMASA and so many others that were heading prominent positions in the shipping sector.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, urged the media to encourage government in its plan of establishing the National fleet, to enable people to invest in shipping.

Bello said that there was need for government to support the national fleet by providing all necessary tools to be sustainable.

“We used to have the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL). We have government control at that time but government is not a business man when it comes to shipping.

“If Nigeria controls the transportation, it can control the trade because the more ships we have the more we control trade.

“Nigeria will be able to control charges which are being controlled by foreigners because we do not have national carrier,’’ NAN quotes Bello as saying.

In her opening remarks, the President of WISTA, Mrs Mary Hamman, said that there was need for Nigeria to support the Federal Government on the Change Agenda.

Hamman said that there was need for Nigerians to start producing goods for exports, adding that over 80 per cent of things being used by Nigerians were imported.

She said that “if containers bring goods to the country, the containers usually goes back empty’’, adding that this was affecting many benefits Nigeria would have achieved from shipping business.

“WISTA contributes a lot in mentoring and supporting female youths, adding that WISTA also mentored them and supported rural fisher women with tools to improve their businesses.

“We need to work hard to bring Nigeria back to the old glory,’’ NAN quotes Hamman as saying.

Also speaking, a maritime lawyer, Mr Adegoke Osunniyi, said that shipping was the key player to economy of all nations, adding that it also remained the economic pillars of all nations.

Osunniyi said that what should be the way forward in Nigeria was that capacity building was very essential for the establishment of the National fleet.

In his presentation, a Chief Officer, Mr Emmanuel Tanimola, said that lack of more professionals and lack of capacity building was what affected the NNSL.

Tanimola said that Nigeria had built on capacity building, adding that it could excel in the establishment of a national fleet because many countries were presently operating it successfully.

He said that countries like Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Singapore were presently operating National fleet, adding that Nigeria had advantages because of the available natural resources to export out of the country.

Tanimola said that it was left for Nigerians to invest in the shipping industry to benefit from the National fleet.

He said that if the National Fleet is solidified, it would create more jobs and reduce social vices to the barest minimum and also create competitiveness .

Also speaking, Capt. Fola Ojutalayo, said that the establishment of National Fleet would create increase in capacity building, stability and balance in shipping trade.

Ojutalayo said that National carrier would boost the nation’s foreign reserves and numerous job creation.

He said that government should make the operations of the National carrier transparent to enable experts to support it with ideas that would be beneficial for the success of the operations.

Ojutalayo said that government must guide against political interference, adding that the committee should review the outstanding debt of the defunct National carrier.

Usoro said that there was need for the Committee to ensure that the insurance companies and banks collaborate toward the success of the project.

She, however, urged government to organise all players that would be involved in the National carrier to enable them understand the procedures of the National fleet.

A Maritime lawyer, Mrs Funke Agbor, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged all the key players to operate with integrity, adding that the NNSL failed due to lack of integrity.

Agbor urged everyone to always practice integrity in all operations, adding that if people do not remain people of integrity, all efforts to do things would fail.

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