SOAN AGM: Stakeholders consider fresh perspectives for sustainable maritime industry growth

SOAN President, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun

Maritime industry regulatory agencies including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) have upheld stakeholder engagement among new strategies for growing the maritime industry.
This was disclosed in different presentations by the agencies on Tuesday at the 2018 Annual Workshop and Dinner organised by the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria(SOAN) with the theme “ The Nigerian Maritime Industry: Galvanizing  Stakeholders Engagement For Sustainable Growth.”

In his presentation titled “Effective Policy Implementation; A Panacea for Sustainable Participation and Growth of Nigerian Maritime Sector,” Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of NIMASA, lamented the poor implementation of policies in Nigeria.
He noted that poor policy implementation would put the nation at a disadvantage in global trade, where all activities are done on a single global standard.
He said: “Poor implementation of our policies is a challenge because of the impact of globalisation and how trade liberalisation drives competitiveness. Our policies cannot stand the test of time on global platforms.”
He, however, told the gathering that as part of efforts to encourage indigenous ship owners, NIMASA has stopped granting waivers for vessels not flagged Nigeria.
Peterside also disclosed that the knotty issue concerning the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) has been addressed, promising that the CVFF would be disbursed by the first quarter of 2019 with speculations that interest rate would be crashed to single digit.
He added that NIMASA would continue to publish the maritime forecasts to enable ship owners understand the industry direction with the available statistics, whilst its efforts in manpower development required for the industry remain steady.  
In her paper titled:  “Initiative for the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime infrastructure,” Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said the NPA had continued to improve on facilities and processes for operational benefits of the industry.
The Managing Director, who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Services of the NPA, Dr. Sokonte Davis, said the NPA had installed the Vessel Tracking Information System in conformity with International and Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS), to increase the confidence level of the port users.
She also said that with a view to improving port operation procedures, the NPA developed an Electronics Ship Entry as well as a Revenue Invoice Management System (RIMS) for more effective time management and record-keeping.
On his part, Engr. Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) remarked that stakeholder management is important for maritime growth.
Speaking on “A New Focus on All-inclusive Stakeholders’ Policy/Regulatory Regime For The Growth of The Nigerian Maritime Industry,” Wabote said that the implementation of the local content over the last eight years had resulted in increase of marine vessel ownership by Nigerians operating in the oil and gas sector.
He said “Over  the last eight years, local content implementation has resulted in the increase of marine vessel ownership by Nigerians, or of less than 10 per cent to 38 per cent of total marine vessel registered in the oil and gas sector. This is a commendable achievement.”
Wabote disclosed that the Board’s new strategic plan aimed at increasing local participation in various categories of vessels engagement would grow the maritime sector and create jobs.
He said: “We have a new focus naturally driven by our 10-year strategic growth plan aimed at increasing the Nigerian content to about 70 %.
"The board recognizes the critical role of the marine sector in realization of its target and therefore put in place the NCDMB green vessel scheme focused on marine vessel utilisation and economic intervention.”

The NCDMB  boss told the shipowners that data analytics forecasting demand for the period of 2019-2023 shows projected vessel types in category one to include tug boats, security patrol boats, various badges and crew boats accounting for 66 per cent of marine vessel requirement.
He said that for the category two, shipowners should look at  Accommodation vessels, platform supply vessels, anchor handling tug vessels, which  would account for 23 % of the demand in the oil and gas industry.

In his opening address, the President of SOAN, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, said the association had established a veritable platform for dissecting challenges and proffering solutions on the sector both locally and internationally.
He said the association had proudly represented shipowners’ interest and the industry generally when it was invited by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) to lead a private sector delegation to the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta.
He noted that besides that, SOAN had been involved in several engagements with other stakeholders, particularly of government agencies, and had at such times discussed policy matters in directions to favour ship owners in their operations.
In that vein, Ogbeifun expressed optimism that the series of profitable discussions and robust engagements would in the nearest future become rewarding to the shipowners’ business operations.
Speaking on the CVFF, Ogbeifun said:  “The minister is in the vineyard of ensuring that the CVFF is disbursed now and he has taken it to the presidential committee. NIMASA is now working in view of the guidelines, courtesy of the minister.
“All we need to do now is to encourage them. Now, we must make ourselves eligible for the opportunities when they come, so that they don’t get this opportunities and throw it to the dogs, and the repeat of what happened in the past when an abuse took place.