NIMASA is working for the interest of every Nigerian - Peterside FeaturedWritten by The Neighbourhood
Speech delivered by the Director General/CEO, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, at a World Press Conference held on Tuesday, 21st March, 2017 at Lagos
It gives me great pleasure this morning to welcome you to this forum. As members of the 4th estate of the realm, we have invited you here to share our journey with you.
When President Muhammadu Buhari took the mantle of leadership of our dear country in 2015, it was clear that the change movement that birthed the new dispensation would have to be tested and trusted to live up to its expectation. It was against this backdrop that all the systems of government swung into action producing leaders in many capacities and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA was one of such beneficiaries.
Our purpose for being here today is to bring you up to speed on the modest reforms that have characterized our term at NIMASA since we started this journey about a year ago.
As a Regulatory and enforcement Agency, we are committed to ensuring that we accomplish our core mandate in a way that serves the best interest of all Nigerians within a dynamic and complex economic environment. We are also committed to ensuring that the maritime environment is conducive for more Nigerians to come on board.
In order to achieve this target, we have committed the past 12 months in setting our priorities right:
Achieving sustainable reforms through the 3R model
About a year ago when we assumed office, we discovered that the Agency was still struggling with the framework of the two Federal Parastatals that had been merged to form NIMASA. This conflict of identity was inevitable, as the two previous bodies had been separate entities with peculiar objectives, business processes and operational complexities. To merge them, though imperative, required a sustainable process for management of results and expectations.
To achieve this, we set about what we christened the 3R model, which is to Reform, Restructure and Reposition the Agency for the new roles and responsibilities within our core mandate.
We developed a strategic document which has Short, Medium and Long term components to serve as our road map. This document has been approved by our Board of Directors. Within our first year in office, Management ensured the promotion of staff particularly those into Management cadre. This was a legacy achievement because this type of promotion had only happened once, in 2007, close to a decade ago.
We have injected a completely new work ethic and energy in the Agency by creating a SMART vision, mission statement and core values. We have also introduced knowledge transfer sessions to improve on internal capacity at minimal cost.
One major part of our reforms at NIMASA has also been the restructuring of the agency’s operation, leading to devolution of powers to the zonal offices. This is to remove avoidable bureaucratic bottlenecks while reducing time for business transactions with the Agency. This is a work in progress and we are optimistic that the decentralization will be amplified I the next 90 days.
The Regional Search And Rescue Committee which is made up of nine member countries under the Nigerian SAR Region, namely; Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, D.R. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe and Togo was dormant. They never met to discuss modalities of collaboration for almost a decade. However, since this new management came on board, the Agency has successfully hosted two Sub-Regional Technical Committee meetings to build a formidable regional network. The Regional network has increased our level of alertness, thus improving our capacity to respond to distress calls, which has ultimately led to a considerable reduction in the cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Our quest to achieve a safer maritime domain has seen us working on an Anti-Piracy Bill.
We have received the Presidents backing to acquire assets that will be deployed at strategic locations, thus enhancing our ability to improve the safety of vessels within our maritime domain.
Having realised the need to enhance the safety of boat users in Nigeria, we have secured the approval of the Honourable Minister of Transportation to increase the number of Search And Rescue Marshalls from 100 to 1000.
International Ships and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS)
We have intensified the Agencies drive to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the ISPS Code. The result is that Nigeria now has a compliance rate of almost 80% as 114 Port facilities out of the total 145 ports in Nigeria are now fully ISPS compliant. Let’s not forget that NIMASA was only appointed the Designated Authority for the implementation of ISPS Code in Nigeria barely 5 years ago when compliance level was barely 13%.
Though 8% of the remaining 31 Port Facilities are currently pursuing compliance, our goal is to target a 100% compliance level within the next twelve months. Our efforts have attracted commendation from the United States Coast Guard team that visited Nigeria earlier this year.
IMO member state audit scheme
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) is an exercise designed by the IMO to assess the degree to which Member States are meeting their obligations and responsibilities as Flag, Port and Coastal States under the relevant IMO instruments. As a major step towards attaining a more effective global implementation of its Conventions, the IMO Assembly in December 2013 made the Member State Audit Scheme mandatory.
The Audit of Nigeria was successfully conducted by IMO in June, 2016.
Surveillance and maritime domain awareness
On the subject of surveillance and maritime domain awareness, I am glad to inform you that NIMASA now operates a 24-hour surveillance system, which captures all vessels in the Nigerian Maritime domain irrespective of weather conditions. We can now achieve a complete profile analysis, which includes the Flag, Registered owner, Operator, Beneficial owner and movements over a specified period. This system enables us to take very swift decisions, in real time, on any targeted ship.
Currently, all offshore areas of interest have been electronically cordoned off with a guard zone via our surveillance system and we can at once view live feed (activities) especially in the oil fields and on crude oil platforms.
The system has not only greatly increased our capacity to block revenue leaks but has increased our revenue as all vessels coming into Nigeria are now captured and analyzed for billing.
Furthermore, the current administration has been able to integrate surveillance data with billing control information thereby driving our desire for the Agencys Billing System to be fully automated. This new innovation encourages seamless operations and has helped reduce billing operational time by two-thirds; from a whooping 72hrs down to 24hrs while keeping our eyes the target timeline of 6hrs billing.
Increase revenue through the billing of pipelines
The quest to enhance our revenue by identifying untapped resources was exploited by the current Management in the area of statutory provisions of the Sea Protection Levy Gazette. Within the last one year, NIMASA has commenced the billing of Pipelines, Oil Rigs and FPSOs.
Capacity development through the empowerment of indigenous ship owners
Conscious of our mandate: to promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping in international and coastal shipping trade, we are poised, more than ever, to achieving this obligation. We understand it requires a great deal of capacity building, especially human, infrastructural and tonnage capacities of our indigenous shipping operators. We have reviewed the participation of Nigerians in the industry and are not satisfied with the outcome. The summary of our findings reveals a very low indigenous participation in international commercial shipping trade in Nigeria. As far-fetched as it sounds, there are no Nigerian Flagged Ocean-going vessels known to us.
In the course of our review also, we observed the salience of cargo availability to the commercial fortunes of a shipowner/operator and to our national tonnage growth. We noted also that commercial shipping will less likely develop without conscious, proactive, well structured and monitored government intervention as is done in other sectors.
One area of such intervention urgently needed is cargo availability.
Developed maritime nations have at one time or the other consciously supported, and are still supporting, their indigenous operators in building their commercial shipping capacities.
Recently, a bipartisan bill was brought before the US Congress aimed at strengthening indigenous participation in shipping. The Bill seeks to allow US flagged vessels carry up to 30% of the US LNG as a matter of both economic importance and security concerns.
On our part, plans are in top gear to use our existing enabling laws to make public cargo available for indigenous shipping operators in order to improve their commercial fortunes and competitive advantage over their well capitalized and established foreign counterparts. We are out to enforce Sections 36 and 37 of the NIMASA Act 2007 towards building indigenous capacities in shipping. This is already at Executive Management level and we are determined to take it to the highest level of bureaucratic, legislative and executive engagements necessary. We shall also involve our esteemed stakeholders at the right time because we understand they have roles to play in the entire process.
Change of trade term from FOB to CIF
One major factor that edges Nigerians out in the affreightment of Nigerian cargo especially crude oil lifting is the prevalent Free On Board trade term. As you know very well, Nigeria as a nation has no control in the distribution of its crude oil with respect to carriage, insurance and other ancillary services. Under a Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) arrangement, the tide would change in favour of our indigenous operators. Therefore, we are joining forces with well meaning Nigerians to move for the change of trade term from FOB to CIF to reasonably involve our indigenous operators in Nigerian cargo affreightment. This will not only give distribution control of our hydrocarbon resources to Nigeria but will also enable us empower our people through cargo lifting and meaningful participation in the entire value chain of our export goods. As you are aware, CIF will enable Nigerians participate in cargo lifting, cargo insurance, create job for our teeming cadets and other ancillary economic and security derivatives. The plans are on top gear to reach out to relevant Agencies of government and very soon we shall do an executive memorandum to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval.
The modular dockyard
I am delighted to inform you that NIMASA will soon take delivery of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard on the African continent. This Dockyard will save the Federal Government of Nigeria, at least, 100 million dollars annually. This will be a direct savings from the dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria, which are mostly done outside the country at the moment. It is our desire to partner the private sector to run the dockyard.
Audit of maritime training institutions
The Agency conducted an audit of all maritime training institutions accredited by NIMASA to offer courses in line with the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). A total of 16 Maritime Training institutions including the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron and The Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology were inspected during the exercise.
Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP)
The Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme is one project this administration holds in high esteem.
So far, 1,045 beneficiaries have graduated from the project, representing 42% graduates of the over 2500 NIMASA sponsored beneficiaries.
A breakdown shows that 226 graduated from the Arab Academy in Egypt, 76 from South Tyneside, Newcastle in England while 743 graduated from various partner Universities in The Philippines.
We took a closer look at the NSDP project and discovered that the non inclusion of Seatime training in some of the packages was a challenge. Let me inform you that this issue is being tackled head-on as we have progressed discussion with the schools in Egypt and Newcastle to directly facilitate sea time training for our graduates. It is noteworthy that only 5 Nigerians are onboard seagoing vessels, while a country like Philippines has over half a million seafarers. Our goal is to ultimately domesticate the training of seafarers in Nigeria.
Let me use this opportunity to correct the erroneous impression that Nigeria has not made progress with the Cabotage regime. A lot of progress has been made. Before the Cabotage regime came into being, less than 12% of Nigerians were onboard vessels operating in Nigerian waters, today, the figures have changed significantly as over 60% of workers onboard vessels operating under the Cabotage regime are now Nigerians. It may also interest you to note that before 2003, less than 3% of vessels operating on our waters were flagged Nigerian. However, today, we have over 60% vessels doing business in Nigerian waters flying the Nigerian Flag.
Another good news about the Cabotage regime is the fact that we have been able to achieve 20% in building Cabotage vessels from a completely foreign dominated era. Our aim is to target 100% Cabotage compliance in the nearest future. The issue of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund is one we have taken a critical look at and I can categorically say that we are addressing the issues militating against the fund being fully operational and accessible.
The Nigerian Flag has also enjoyed significant growth within the past twelve months. While 262 vessels with a total Tonnage of slightly over 232,000 GRT were registered in 2015, the figures almost doubled in 2016 as 370 vessels with a total Tonnage of almost 420,000 GRT were registered within the past 12 months.
The 3rd Conference of the Association of Heads of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA)
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency in conjunction with the International Maritime Organization, IMO, is organizing the 3rd conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrations. This is in line with IMO policy in assisting and enhancing the capacity of Maritime Administrations in Africa in the adherence and implementation of IMO instruments.
Against the backdrop of the key resolutions and decision of the 2nd Heads of African Maritime Administration Conference held in Sandton, South Africa in October 2013, was the convening of a 3rd AAMA Conference in 2014. The designated host, Nigeria, at the time, was unable to host the 3rd conference in 2014. We reactivated the hosting rights and 19th to 21st of April 2017 was set as the date for the 3rd conference scheduled to hold at the Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja, Nigeria.
This crucial 3rd AAMA Conferences is set to draw a roadmap for the future sustainable work plans of the Association. The theme of the Conference is: Sustainable Use of Africa's Oceans and Seas.
The theme is against the backdrop of the African Unions declaration of the year 2015-2025 as the Decade of African Seas and Oceans. We view hosting AAMA as part of our drive to reposition the Nigerian Maritime Sector, thereby making Nigeria a force to be reckoned with again, globally.
Aside of the immediate benefits of having Maritime Administrations in Africa converge in Nigeria, the multiplier effect will go a long way to enhance the chances of Nigeria to return to Council at IMO at the Category C level.
NIMASA's Management has received the presidential approval to seek election in to the category C of the IMO council.
Lastly, let me inform you that we are rebranding the Agency in order to align it with other foremost Maritime administrations in the world.
The new NIMASA brand would be unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 20th of April which coincides with the hosting of AAMA. It’s part of our concept to inject a new dose of energy into the NIMASA brand.