The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that the agency is targeting to achieve a strategic growth and other developmental initiatives of the maritime industry through a strict and careful implementation of its 2017 budget.

NIMASA is the government body solely responsible for the promotion of indigenous shipping and ensuring maritime safety and security on the nation’s waterways.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made this commitment recently in Abuja while defending its 2017 budget at the National Assembly, also said that the current management under his watch is more than ever committed to making it the best and foremost Maritime Administration in Africa.

The DG told the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, chaired by Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima that the agency will focus on carrying out its core mandates and to grow the maritime industry for the benefit of indigenous operators and the entire Nigerian nation in the course of the implementation of the 2017 budget.

He said: “We are targeting strategic growth in five critical areas in the year 2017 comprising maintaining maritime safety and security to bring piracy to the lowest level, maintenance of a clean maritime environment and enhanced port state control, human and infrastructural capacity development as well as sanitising the maritime environment to eliminate sharp practices, while increasing revenue generation for economic growth”.

“It is expected that the dollar rate will drop drastically through Federal Government’s intervention policies and in turn give room for more investors. Let me also assure Nigerians’ that the present management of NIMASA is committed to ensuring transparency in all its processes, accountability and probity in the discharge of its mandate towards making Nigeria a hub of maritime activities in Africa”, Dr. Peterside said.

He also assured the committee that revenue leakages will be plugged through the agency’s digitalisation processes, noting that NIMASA will also embark on an aggressive debt recovery programme, all geared towards enhancing the efficiency of the maritime industry.

It would be recalled that NIMASA in the last one year, especially since the coming on stream of the current management, embarked on several reform of the agency, which are geared towards revamping the maritime industry in line with the desire of the Federal Government to diversify the economy from the current over-dependence on the oil and gas sector.

Part of the strategies of the management is to engage the stakeholders with a view to sensitising and getting their buy-in in these reform initiatives.

To this end, the agency embarked on stakeholders’ engagements and campaigns towards the actualisation of its mandate in growing the shipping industry in Nigeria and to make it rank high in terms of efficiency and competitiveness among the comity of maritime nations in order to attract both foreign and local investments.

It is expected that the 2017 budget, which is the first prepared by the current management would enhance its operations and by so doing enable it perform its core mandates and statutory responsibility not only to the maritime industry in Nigeria by also to the global maritime community, being responsible for both port state and flag state administration.