The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has observed that the recurring rhetoric on the potentials of the Nigerian maritime industry is over and that it is time for stakeholders to unite to actualise these potentials for the benefit of the nation.
The Director General who was speaking in Lagos recently, noted that the time for action is now, to convert this bastion of opportunities into tangibles.
Dr Peterside who noted that the maritime industry is the second largest income earner for the country after oil and gas, said that it is time that the country starts benefitting from the contributions of the industry in terms of employment creation, wealth generation and government revenue.
The DG called for the integration of the maritime industry into the economic development agenda of the country, saying it is a prerequisite if the nation is to harness the vast opportunities in the sector.
He said that a lot of areas in the sector have not been developed, stating the issue of ownership of ocean going vessels as a case in point.
“We are perhaps the only country in the world that only foreign flagged vessels lift our crude to the international market. We do not have a single Nigerian flagged vessel that lifts our crude. Our ferry services are also underdeveloped and there are vast opportunities for ship building leveraging on the Cabotage Act,” Dr Peterside explained.
The DG also observed that the multiplier effect of Nigerian vessels with Nigerian crew lifting Nigeria’s crude can better be imagined given the cost of freight and the wages of seafarers involved.
On allegations of corruption in the industry, Dr Peterside noted that human contact in any payment system is a precursor for corruption, and that the agency was automating its processes and systems to eliminate human contact in order to engender efficiency and eliminate leakages.
“We noticed over time that corruption in NIMASA was propagated through external influences, as such we are reforming our people, putting them through a re-orientation process, making them understand that the little things we do in NIMASA affect our global perception,” the DG said.