By Innocent Orok
The Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) has agreed to synergised to fund maritime investments in the Country.
This pledge was reached by the two agencies while making presentations at the maiden edition of Nigeria maritime finance fair put together in Lagos by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) .
BOI said it has already disbursed over $82m out of a pool of $200m fund set aside by the Bank for Ship acquisition and ship repairs facilities for Nigerian investors.
NIMASA on its part said it will partner with BOI on the disbursed of the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF),but said the Cobitage Act is in the National Assembly for some admendments.
NIMASA also said is planning to train another batch of 300 cadets under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
The new set of cadets according to the agency will be trained in three universities in India who have indicated interest to offer sea time training for the beneficiaries.
The Director General of the Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who made this known at the maiden edition of Maritime Finance Fair held in Lagos, said NIMASA spends over $28, 000 to train one seafarer abroad, adding that the agency is doing a lot in the area of seafarers training.
The NIMASA Director General who was represented by Head Cabotage Services,Victor Egejuru explained that the apex maritime regulatory agency is having some certain challenges with the programme especially for cadets trained in the Philippines.
According to Egejuru: “An arrangement are being made at present to make payments for more than 300 seafarers additional to what we already have before. So efforts are being made due to lack of vessels internationally, so it is an international problem not a localised problem. If it is for us to just put them on Cabotage vessels we will spread all of them over the place.
“Because of the nature of sea time training they give to Nigerian cadets , then NIMASA said no, we need them to be properly trained.
“So most of them have been moved to other institutions away from Philippines like Arab Academy Egypt, and UK and presently there are other universities coming on board especially those in India. There are three universities in India to also offer sea time training.
The NIMASA boss also said that “Seafaring provision of sea time training is very expensive and NIMASA has done a whole lot in this regard. Provision of seafarer training even for one seafarer is not less then $28,000.
“And so when people shout that nothing is being done they don’t know the pressure NIMASA is also facing”.
The agency, while harping on the optimal utilisation of the recently purchased floating dry dock, the NIMASA boss restated the agency commitment to partner with private investors for optimal utilisation of the facility.
He said that the agency is a regulator that needs to enter into Public/Private Partnership for efficient running of the floating dock
“Yes we have a dry dock but don’t forget that NIMASA is a regulator and there is actually no way we can run a dry dock by ourselves. So there is a possibility of getting into a PPP for the dry dock to be fully utilized”
“At present various options are being weighed by the agency and at the appropriate time you will get to what decision they have taken”
“NIMASA took this decision not by force but the agency took up this programme of NSDP. A lot of Nigerians have now trained under this programme but for certain reasons we are having challenges with provision of sea time training especially those that were trained in Philippines”
“But we cannot spend so much money training people outside the shores of Nigeria just go get the best of international standard and when they come back you reduce them to national standard.
On the partnership with BOI he said, you cannot talk about capacity building without fund, the sources will come from other sources including the Bank of Industry (BOI). What we have done is to meet to agree before we now have a formal meeting with the representatives of NIMASA and BOI don’t forget the BOI has done well with NCDMB.
“I also told you the problem we have with CVFF, it is not NIMASA, the agency does not have a problem it is the structure of the CVFF. The Act itself which is now being looked into or reviewed by the national assembly,”, he said.