10th August, 2010
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) have resolved to work closely together to ensure effective implementation of the Cabotage Act in Nigeria.
This position was made public at a joint press briefing addressed by the Director General ofÂ NIMASA, Mr. Temisan Omatseye and the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engineer Ernest Nwapa.
In a joint statement read by Nwapa, both government agencies said it is not going to be business as usual again in the Nigerian coastal trade, adding that the issue of enforcement will be given all the seriousness it deserves.
While noting that NIMASA has made modest achievements in Cabotage implementation, the Omatseye said that the NIMASA/NCDMB collaboration will surely enhance the implementation of Cabotage in Nigeria.
On the issue of litharge, he said Nigerian vessels have been excluded and NIMASA will not accept the situation any longer, adding, â€œwe are working at restricting it to indigenous operators.â€
Speaking further,Â the NIMASA boss said â€œI always say that the problem is not that we donâ€™t have business in Nigeria. During the last quarter, NNPC imported over four billion litres of products and if we translate that into N3 per litre which is the cost of litharge, that will give Nigerian ship owners over N12 billion per quarter. This, at the moment, is enjoyed solely by foreigners.â€
The NIMASA DG who noted that the challenge of Nigerian ship owners is the quality of their vessels, said that they can only improve on the quality if they have business. He therefore restated NIMASAâ€™s commitment to assist in creating the business for Nigerian vessel owners.
He also challenged members of the public to reveal the identity of Nigerians who collaborate with foreigners to deny indigenous participation in coastal trade
The sribe of NCDMB,Â Engineer Ernest Nwapa, later announced that the board and NIMASA is working on a waiver management standards that fit into global best practice.
According to him, the IMASA/NCDMBÂ collaboration is aimed atÂ closing all gaps and loopholes that may be exploited to weaken the efforts of government.
In his words, â€œwe believe that once we work together with other relevant government agencies, we will put the local capacity in place to achieve desired levels of value retention, especially in the wake of investments anticipated with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Indigenous ShipownersAssociation of Nigeria, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, commended both agencies for their collaborative effort to enhance the capacity of local participation in the Nigerian maritime industry.