NIMASA remits N16bn to Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2019

• Assures on ease of doing business

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hon. Dakuku Peterside, on Tuesday, disclosed that the total sum of N16 billion has so far been remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2019.

Hon. Peterside who stated this during the 2019 budget performance and 2020 budget defence held at the instance of House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, chaired by Hon. Linda Ikpeazu explained that the amount exceeds N12 billion (133% above) revenue target proposed in the 2019 budget estimates.

Speaking at the sideline of the budget defence, Hon Peterside affirmed that the Agency has achieved tremendous success towards improving ease of doing business by reducing the number of agencies at the port.

According to him, “I don’t think we have issues with port congestion, the problem is the access roads to our various ports and Federal Government is taking it as a priority programme. That is what I can say. The issue ab-initio is not port congestion, it is that access roads to ports are bad and we were not able to evacuate cargoes from the port early enough. If the access roads were in order, then it will be easier for us to evacuate cargoes.

“In addition to that, if you notice the new programme, we are connecting all ports by rail to the hinterland that will also help in evacuating cargoes from the port to hinterland. And of course, you are aware of the dry port programme being pursued by the Nigerian Shippers Council. So all of that would help in alleviating what you called congestion of.ports.”

On the ongoing plans to reduce the number of regulatory agencies at the ports in response to the agitation of operators, Hon. Peterside said: “It’s rather good to acknowledge that a lot has improved in ports operations. Under the Ease of Doing Business initiative being facilitated by Presidential Enabling Business Council were able to reduce the number of actors or regulatory agencies at the port.”

According to him: “We have also succeeded in streamlining the processes and procedure for inspection of vessels and cargo clearance. Of course with the repositioning of NIMASA, we have improved the cargo dwell time and turn around of vessels. You now get your clearance within 48 hours, what used to take you 7 days before now. But because NIMASA is repositioned and in pursuit of Ease of Doing Business, there’s a tremendous improvement at the rate at which we issue clearance so that vessels can leave the port and move on to other places. I think we should start by saying, a lot has improved at the port processes.

“Then the Hon. Minister of Transportation gave a directive that all maritime agencies must automate their processes to make it more transparent, more open to improve efficiency and effectiveness and that has begun to show in our operations both at the ports and the agencies within the maritime sector,” he told Tribune Online correspondents and others.

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Speaking further before the Committee, Hon. Peterside added that the 133% increment was sequel to a number of measures initiated by the Agency such as effective monitoring of vessels, enforcement of laws, increased surveillance and debt recoveries.

Hon Peterside explained that N110.84 billion was budgeted as targeted revenue for 2019 out of which N83.49 billion representing 74% was realised while N20 billion was spent out of the N28 billion allocated for the mandatory Maritime Fund.

Giving the breakdown of the expenses for the 2019 budget, the NIMASA Director-General said N20 billion was budgeted for personal emolument and N15.2 billion has been spent while N24 billion was allocated for overhead but only N12 billion have been spent.

He stated that capital expenditure was pegged at N18 billion with only N1.5 billion spent as many contractors have not commenced work even though contracts have been awarded, adding that the Agency also released N2.5 billion to the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State.

While expressing delight over an impressive budget performance, Dakuku said, “as at October 31, we contributed N16 billion to consolidated revenue fund. We have since increased our contribution and in that contribution, we have exceeded our budget target.

“We have achieved 133% of what is expected of us. Paying to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, Nigeria will have resources to build roads, railways and develop infrastructure.

“We were able to achieve that because of a number of measures we put in place. Effective monitoring of vessels, enforcement of laws. We have also automated our payment systems. We have also commenced surveillance system. We have also commenced effective debt recovery programme.”

Responding to questions by Members of the Committee, Dakuku said the Agency was working seriously to ensure the review of existing maritime laws in the country to meet up contemporary demands of the industry, disclosing that very soon executive bills on Maritime laws amendment would be sent to National Assembly.

Speaking earlier, Hon. Linda Ikpeazu commended the Agency for exceeding its targeted contribution to the consolidated revenue fund and assured it of support of the Committee to realise its statutory mandate.

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