Capital flight: Nigeria to earn N36bn annually from NIMASA’s floating dockyard …As agency adopts PPP operational model
From left: Director, Western Zone, NIMASA, Mr. Olayemi Abbass, Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, Director, Reform Coordination and Strategy , Mr. Sani Muhammed and Head, Corporate Communications of the agency, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi during a media conference in Lagos, Wednesday.
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that the problem of capital flight associated with the dry docking of vessels operating in Nigeria overseas would soon be a thing of the past following the recent delivery of its multimillion dollar floating dockyard, an indication that the country will conserve over N36billion annually.
The modular floating dockyard project, which started in 2014 was built by one of the world’s largest ship building firms, Damen of Netherlands and its partners NIRDA, is the fifth biggest in Africa with a length of 125m and breadth of 35m and is fitted with three inbuilt cranes, transformers and a number of ancillary facilities.
Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who made this known during an interactive session with the maritime media in Lagos, Wednesday, said that the facility which would be operated on a Public Private Partnership PPP model will be located within one of the facilities managed by the Nigerian Navy for now.
It was however gathered that the floating dockyard would commence operations immediately after its commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari. He added that when fully operational, Nigerian ship owners and other foreign vessels operating in country numbering over 5,000 annually would no longer need to take their vessels outside the country for dry docking, a development that would check the prevalence of capital flight.
“Nigeria loses over to $100m annually simply because when our ship owners and other foreign vessels operating in the country need to dry dock their vessels, they mostly take them to neighboring countries such as Ghana and Cameroun and Angola, thus spending avoidable foreign exchange. When this facility is fully operational it has the capacity to dry dock any vessel in-country and save the much needed foreign exchange”, the DG said.
According to him, the agency has a one-year technical partnership agreement with Damen of Netherlands, the builders, under which it will handle the technical aspect of the operations while NIMASA handles the financial aspects. He also assured that it will create several thousands of jobs for teeming Nigerian youths as well as provide training opportunities for seafarers, adding that the NIMASA floating dockyard would also be available as a training facility for the students of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko and other maritime institutions in the country.
Peterside also said: “We are planning to secure a permanent location for the facility, which would benefit our students for training and we have also engaged the builders to manage the facility for a one year period at a naval facility”.
While speaking on some of the interventions being worked out for stakeholders, especially indigenous shipping firms, Dr. Peterside said that the agency is working on a special foreign exchange intervention for the acquisition of vessels and spare parts as well as loan repayment processes to enable them compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
He added that there is a team working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on how best this policy can be implemented. He said this is aside working towards the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund CVFF which will give room for a full-fledged Cabotage regime with more job opportunities created.
Commenting on the agency’s Survey, Inspection & Certification Transformation Programme, he also disclosed that a total of 3,752 Certificates of Competency (CoC) were issued in 2017 to successful seafarers, representing a 149 per cent increase from the CoCs issued in 2016.
Dr. Peterside said that the impact of this is the confidence of stakeholders who now willingly verify certificates without prompting. He further informed that a total of 1,880 certificates were authenticated for stakeholders in 2017 alone, a significant rise when compared to the 1013 CoCs verified in 2016.
The NIMASA DG further informed that the number of Nigerian seafarers placed onboard vessels from January to June this year is 2,337 representing 58.9 per cent increase in the number of seafarers employed stating that this move has led to job and wealth creation in line with the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
He however assured that the agency would continue to do all it can to deliver on its core mandates not only to the Federal Government but also to the stakeholders through continuous consultation and engagement.