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NIMASA to support NISA in indigenous shipping promotion

DG NIMASA, Ziakede Akpobolokemi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety
Agency(NIMASA) has expressed willingness to work with the Nigeria Ship-owners
Association(NISA) to actualise the provisions of the Cabotage Act 
to help restore shipping services jobs to indigenous ship-owners.

Mr Ziakede Akpobolokemi, the Director-General of
NIMASA made the pledge on Tuesday when the NISA Executive, led by its
President, Capt. Dada Labinjo, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Lagos.

The NIMASA boss assured that he had earlier on Tuesday
inaugurated a committee to drive the cabotage regime to ensure that Nigerians
in the shipping sub-sector got the jobs that rightfully belonged to them.

“It is important we move the shipping sector forward.
I know it is difficult to do, but building 
indigenous capacity has to be given a priority, and we
must work to secure cargo and contracts for Nigerians.

“In one of the major meetings we had with the OPTS
(the umbrella body of the Oil and Gas companies in Nigeria) this morning, we
discussed the enforcement of the cabotage regime.
“We told them
that jobs that Nigerians ought to do that are taken over by foreigners are
getting us very restive as we need to empower our people.

He said the effort to effect the desired change must
be deliberate and constructive to enable Nigerians operating in the shipping
sub-sector get jobs, considering some core things that must be done.

In that regard, Akpobolokemi said that the baton for
continuity would be handed over when the present administration is able to
achieve a pass mark in building indigenous freight and a national carrier.
“We will not stop until we get it right.  I know doing this may not be easy, but we
have the desire, not minding that the greatest problem has always been with
implementing the law,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Capt. Labinjo said the visit to the
NIMASA Director General was to interact with the agency for mutually-beneficial
relationship, especially in building indigenous capacity.

He said that the utmost desired result was for NISA
members to get back the jobs that foreign shipping operators had taken from
them.

“We want to take back our jobs which have been taken
by foreign shipping companies.
“We are convinced that if the members are well engaged
they will work together to achieve ‘zero illegality,” Labinjo said.

He however noted that members of NISA have been
enjoined to acquire modern vessels so as to get jobs in the oil and gas service
provision.

He pointed out that Ghana had advanced with
implementing its Local Content Act as it does not register companies without
its citizen being at the helm of affairs, including being the main signatory to
a company’s business account.

He said just like Ghana, Brazil had also enforced the
engagement of indigenous shipping service providers in addition to its cabotage
regime, and that the provision was signed on Nov. 5.

According to Labinjo, NISA was also looking at the
option of encouraging investments in shipyards considering the projected
shipping requirements for the cargo carriage in the oil and gas.

He used the occasion to request from the NIMASA boss
that NISA be considered a vital role; advisory and service provision, when it
comes to application waivers.
“The treatment
of the application for waiver comes to NIMASA and takes us completely out of
it. Let any service user make his application, but please forward it to us and
within 72 hours we will be back with you to let you know if any one of us can
provide such a ship,” he said.

He disclosed that the Nigeria Maritime Expo(NIMAREX)committee
would be inaugurated on Wednesday to enable them begin planning and
preparations for the 2015 event.

In attendance with Capt. Labinjo from NISA  were the Second Vice President, Aminu; the General Secretary, Tunji
Brown; Treasurer, Peter Olorunfemi; Financial Secretary, Dele Lamisa; Otunba
Shola Onaoji; Mr. Peter Ashinwo and Associate Member, Akin Olaniyan.

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