FG commends NPA over Harbour Simulation Centre …Says project would curtail capital flight
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Federal Government has lauded the management and board of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, over its foresight in building an ultra-modern Marine and harbour simulation centre, which had been abandoned more than11 years ago.
The facility, situated at the Dockyard Apapa, has the capacity to provide the platform for the training of pilots, marine officers, tug masters and radio signal officers, has an operational procedure that can maneuver and handle ships under any condition.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Ameachi, who spoke while officially commissioning the project in Lagos, Tuesday, noted that in addition to enhancing operational efficiency by training the authority’s members of staff also said it would reduce foreign exchange spent on training the relevant officers overseas.
According to him, achieving this feat, in addition to helping curtail capital flight out of the country, mainly used for training personnel abroad, it is also a testament that the Federal Government is desirous of encouraging local content in other to grow the economy.
The Minister said: “Let me commend the management and board of the NPA for their foresight to reduce expenditure on training members of staff of NPA overseas. Apart from the training, which is essential, the local content of this project is also of interest to the Federal Government because I was impressed to hear that the project manager of the simulator is a Nigerian lady.
“You cannot thrive in an environment like this if you cannot apply technology and this will impact negatively on Nigeria’s economy. Only professionals should use this facility so that the desired goals of the project would not be lost. On our part the Ministry would continue to support the NPA and other agencies under it in order to achieve inter-agency collaboration”.
While also assuring of the support and commitment of the Federal Government towards developing the maritime industry, the Minister noted that the project is a testament that Nigeria is attaining the status of the desired port destination of choice, as the facility would attract professionals from within and outside the country.
Earlier in her welcome address, Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman stated that the commissioning of the centre signals the Federal Government’s preparedness and firm resolve at competing most favourably in the global maritime space. She informed stakeholders that the Marine and Harbours Ultra-Modern Simulation Centre is expected to engender greater operational efficiency in the activities of the organisation in addition to increasing its revenue since it will operate on a commercial basis with expected patronage from only from the country, but also within Africa and indeed globally.
In addition, the MD affirmed, that event, would build the capacity of the authority’s operations personnel, the pilots, marine officers, tug masters, radio signal operators and prepare them to respond appropriately to the challenges of their various schedules.
Hadiza she assured that when fully operational, the nation’s seaports would benefit immensely through the increase in numbers and receipt of bigger vessels, saying that the management would be glad at seeing that the facility is put into good use by all at all times.
“The NPA pays high premium on the capacity of its personnel to be the best at their schedules and various duties in other to respond to greater operational challenges”, the MD also said.
Furthermore, Usman told stakeholders that the commissioning of the Centre is “part of the Authority’s strategic positioning and intent at becoming the leading powers in Port services in Africa and beyond.
According to her, the commissioning of the centre is a reminder to all and sundry and a critical pointer at the fact that matters concerning occupational health and safety standards 18001 and ISO 9002 compliance drive are expedient issues requiring all hands to be on deck in other that they are accomplished assiduously soonest.
Describing the facility as a national pride, she implored administrators of the facility and stakeholders to always observe required Standard Operational Procedures SOP, adding that Management of the NPA would prioritise maintenance of the centre “we must all commit ourselves to the sustenance and continuous improvement of the facility”.
She appreciated the commitment of members of staff of the NPA and the encouragement from the ministry especially the Minister of Transport, which enhanced the timely completion of the project.
On his part, chairman of the governing board of the NPA, Emmanuel Adesoye commended the synergy harnessed by the management of the authority resulting in the commissioning of the facility, stressing that it would help in advancing the industry forward much as it would result in boosting the nation’s economy.