Nigeria needs maritime data bank for economic growth-NIMASA DG
.Says bureau of statistics should capture maritime data
By Udeme Clement
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has stated that the Agency is pushing for a single data window system of all activities in the Nigerian maritime sector, such that data required would be available on a single platform, as a maritime data bank to help engender the nation’s rapid economic growth.
The DG who stated this in Lagos, at interactive session with the media also noted that, Nigerian maritime sector which currently provides over 100,000 direct jobs with multiplier effects of over two million jobs, deserves adequate mention in the statistics released monthly by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
“We are pushing for a single data window system in the maritime sector, whereby NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and other relevant government agencies in the sector would share a common platform for data, on all vessels calling at our ports and the activities. This would make it easy for the National Bureau of Statistics to capture the contributions of the maritime sector and the GDP of the country to enable those who make use of the figures to grow the economy achieve better results,” he said.
Speaking on the survey and inspection of vessels calling at Nigerian ports, he said that the fast intervention vessels the agency leased last year, led to an increase in Port, Flag and Coastal State control inspections, which he noted has increased by over 10.3, 33.3 and 27 per cent respectively in 2018, than the same period in the previous year. This is just as the Agency has taken drastic action to ensure that substandard vessels do not ply and endanger the waters.
“Nigeria is no longer conducive for substandard vessels, because they know that we are more vigilant and by this, we are ensuring the protection of our environment. We are strict on enforcement of standards and the international fleet feels more comfortable with our maritime terrain”, the DG said.
Commenting on the issue of placing beneficiaries of the Agency’s Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, on board ocean going vessels for their mandatory sea-time training, he disclosed that currently a total number of 289 cadets have commenced their training in Egypt and the United Kingdom on NIMASA full sponsorship. He also used the opportunity to assure all beneficiaries of the scheme that the Agency would ensure they all complete their mandatory sea-time training in due course.
He pointed out further that the Agency is working with IMO as technical partners to improve the quality of graduates from Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron. This is to ensure that graduates from MAN, Oron and other maritime institutions are employable.
Dr. Dakuku also said that the Agency is working with a shipping firm in the United Arab Emirates UAE to give 100 Nigerian Seafarers sea time training spread over 10 years.
In the area of security on the nation’s territorial waters, the NIMASA DG said that the Agency is addressing it through NIMASA total spectrum maritime security strategy, which includes investment on intelligence and partnership with the Nigerian Navy, building of Nigeria’s response capabilities with the use of Fast Intervention Vessels and the review of our laws, especially the anti-piracy bill which would give the Agency the legal backing to prosecute issues relating to piracy on our waters.
He also hinted that the Agency has been able to plug all loopholes through the automation of its processes, as there is no more room for human interface, thereby curbing any form of corrupt practice. This, he said has also assisted the Agency to contribute substantially to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF, of the Federal Government.
While noting that ratings on transparency and accountability by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, shows that NIMASA has improved tremendously, Dr Dakuku said that the target is to be amongst the first three government agencies in the next rating.
Also speaking on the recently reviewed 2018-2019 maritime forecast, Dr. Dakuku noted that the projected 1.8 to 2.5 per cent growth in the sector can only take place when all avenues or windows are explored to grow the industry.