No more waivers for oil companies – Says NIMASA DG
.Tasks IOCs on industrial growth
.Says agency to enforce strict compliance on regulations
By Udeme Clement & Faith Idem
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said that the Agency would no longer encourage waivers under the Cabotage Act, particularly for the oil firms, as such practice does not help the growth of Nigerian maritime sector and the economy at large.
Speaking during a meeting with the Oil Producers Trade Sector, OPTS, in Lagos, Dakuku said NIMASA is on the verge of ending such waivers. He urged industry players to draw up a five-year strategic plan for the cessation of application for Cabotage waivers and also pursue the utilisation of Nigerian-owned vessels for marine contracts.
According to him, “Our laws forbid foreign vessels operating in our territorial waters save for compliance with the Cabotage Act. We also want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business. We are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, to have a joint categorisation of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act, in order to ensure full implementation of the Act.”
Dakuku urged the international oil companies,IOCs, to support NIMASA’s bid to ensure full implementation of the Act, adding that it would equally be of more benefit to the investors in the sector, as it would be cost effective for them to engage Nigerians.
On the previous resolutions with OPTS, Dakuku stated that there is need for the trade section of the oil producers to fulfill their own part of the agreement. He said NIMASA would not compromise the growth of the maritime sector, especially when it comes to the issue of enforcing statutory regulations enshrined in the Agency’s empowering instruments.
Dr. Dakuku further stated that in NIMASA’s bid to grow the industry, it would not hesitate to wield its powers where necessary, adding that the agency’s mandate is strictly regulatory. But he also noted that NIMASA prefers the method of engaging key players in the industry for symbiotic benefits.
“We don’t want to change our rules of engagement to a confrontational one because the mandate we have is that of the Nigerian people, to grow shipping for our economic benefits. In this wise, we urge you to cooperate and collaborate with us where necessary, so that we could have an all-inclusive maritime sector,” he said.
Dakuku explained, “The Agency is taking necessary steps to ensure that there are no gaps in the sector, especially as it concerns needed human capacity. The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, which is an interventionist programme of the Agency, is making serious headway in creating sea time for over 2,000 graduates of the programme”.
In his own remarks, the Executive Director of OPTS, Bunmi Toyobo, said the trade section is ready to comply with all directives of NIMASA.
He said the information required by the Agency to build and harmonise its data for better regulation of the sector would be provided by OPTS.
The meeting well attended by OPTS, had Managing Directors and representatives of major oil firms, including Total, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Agip among others.