Cab­o­tage: FG ends waivers to oil firms

Daily Trust - - JOBS & CAREERS - From Kay­ode Ekun­dayo & Eu­gene Agha La­gos

The Direc­tor-Gen­eral of Nige­rian Mar­itime Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peter­side, has said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will no longer ac­cept ap­pli­ca­tion of any form of waiver un­der the Cab­o­tage Act, par­tic­u­larly from oil firm op­er­a­tions.

The DG ex­plained that the con­tin­u­ous grant­ing of waivers to oil com­pa­nies would not help the growth of the Nige­rian mar­itime sec­tor and econ­omy at large.

Speak­ing dur­ing a meet­ing with the Oil Pro­duc­ers Trade Sec­tor (OPTS) in La­gos, yes­ter­day, Dakuku said NIMASA was on the verge of end­ing such waivers.

He urged in­dus­try play­ers to draw up a five-year strate­gic plan for the ces­sa­tion of ap­pli­ca­tion for cab­o­tage waiver and also pur­sue the uti­liza­tion of Nige­rian-owned ves­sels for marine con­tracts.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “Our laws for­bid for­eign ves­sels oper­at­ing in our ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters save for com­pli­ance with the Cab­o­tage Act. We also want to in­crease the num­ber of Nige­ri­ans who par­tic­i­pate in the marine as­pect of your busi­ness and we are work­ing closely with the Nige­rian Con­tent De­vel­op­ment and Mon­i­tor­ing Board (NCDMB) to have a joint cat­e­go­riza­tion of ves­sels oper­at­ing un­der the Cab­o­tage Act in or­der to en­sure the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the act.”

Dakuku urged the in­ter­na­tional oil com­pa­nies (IOCs) to sup­port NIMASA’s bid to en­sure full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the act, adding that it would equally be of more ben­e­fit to the in­vestors in the sec­tor as it will be cost ef­fec­tive for them to en­gage Nige­ri­ans.

Com­ment­ing on the pre­vi­ous res­o­lu­tions with the OPTS, Dakuku stated that there was need for the trade sec­tion of the oil pro­duc­ers to ful­fill their own part of the agree­ment.

He said NIMASA will not com­pro­mise the growth of the mar­itime sec­tor, es­pe­cially on the is­sue of en­forc­ing statu­tory reg­u­la­tions en­shrined in the agency’s em­pow­er­ing in­stru­ments.

Dr. Dakuku fur­ther stated that in NIMASA’s bid to grow the in­dus­try, it would not hes­i­tate to wield its pow­ers where nec­es­sary, adding that the agency’s man­date is strictly reg­u­la­tory. He how­ever, also noted that NIMASA pre­ferred the method of en­gag­ing key play­ers in the in­dus­try for sym­bi­otic ben­e­fits.

“We don’t want to change our rules of en­gage­ment to a con­fronta­tional one be­cause the man­date we have is that of the Nige­rian peo­ple to grow ship­ping for our eco­nomic ben­e­fits. In this wise, we urge you to co­op­er­ate and col­lab­o­rate with us where nec­es­sary so that we can have an all-in­clu­sive mar­itime sec­tor,” the direc­tor­gen­eral stated.

Dakuku said the agency was tak­ing nec­es­sary steps to en­sure that there were no gaps in the sec­tor, es­pe­cially as it con­cerns hu­man ca­pac­ity.

He said the Nige­rian Sea­far­ers De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (NSDP), which is an in­ter­ven­tion­ist pro­gramme of the agency, was mak­ing head­way in cre­at­ing sea time for the over 2,000 grad­u­ates of the pro­gramme.

In his re­marks, the Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of OPTS, which com­prises ma­jor oil com­pa­nies, Bunmi Toy­obo, said the trade sec­tion was ready to com­ply with all di­rec­tives of NIMASA. He said the in­for­ma­tion re­quired by the agency to build and har­monise its data for bet­ter reg­u­la­tion of the sec­tor will be pro­vided by OPTS.

The meet­ing, which was well at­tended by OPTS, had man­ag­ing di­rec­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ma­jor oil firms, in­clud­ing To­tal, Exxon Mo­bil, Shell, and Agip amongst oth­ers, in at­ten­dance.

NIMASA DG, Dr Dakuku Peter­side.

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