The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that there was urgent need for the agency to partner the Nigerian Customs Service in order to boost trade facilitation and by so doing achieve the desired growth and development of the nation’s maritime industry, which will in the long run enhance the growth of Nigeria’s economy.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made this assertion when he led the top management team of the agency on a courtesy visit to the Comptroller General of the Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) at the Customs headquarters in Abuja described the managements of both agencies as sticklers for transparency, which do things that will serve the best interest of the Nigerian nation.

According to him, both agencies, which play critical roles in shipping activities in the country in their statutory functions, ultimately work towards the same goal of enhancing trade facilitation, which will in no small measure boost Federal Government’s revenue and ultimately lead to economic growth and development.

“The Nigeria Customs Service and NIMASA are both working towards accomplishing one purpose, which is to facilitate international trade in the country, enhance revenue generation for the government and ensure that those who do business in the industry respect the laws of the land and that ultimately they do not take advantage of the Nigerian people”, he said.

The DG also observed that the need for partnership between the two agencies has even become more glaring with the coming on stream of the new managements about one year ago.

He however informed the Customs- boss that NIMASA has started a process of restructuring and repositioning of the agency for the ultimate good of the maritime industry as part of efforts to make it more business friendly, thereby attracting more investors to the country.

He said: “In NIMASA there is a new wave of change in the same direction with the Customs. We are focused on delivering on our mandate of promoting the participation of indigenous operators in shipping industry in Nigeria with a view to giving every Nigerian an opportunity as well as ensure that our waterways are safe for business to thrive”.

He insisted that the agency has in the course of doing its work realised that it is inevitable that it must work with the Customs, which is a major reason for the courtesy visit.

It was gathered that the expected areas of partnership would include but not limited to the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System NICIS, the National Single Window Project and Maritime Security with a view to enhancing productivity in the industry, transparency, plugging revenue leakages and ensuring maritime security among others.

Meanwhile, the Customs CG, who was on ground to receive the NIMASA management team, expressed optimism that the renewed partnership between both agencies will bring about the growth of the maritime industry in particular and also the national economy in general.

“Gone are the days that we feel we should do it alone, today the dynamics have changed, technology has given us a platform whereby we can achieve a lot, share information and also distribution of responsibility, I therefore feel NIMASA is one of the organisations we need to partner with, so your coming is to strengthen the already existing relationship,” the CG said.

He assured NIMASA of the readiness of the service to partner NIMASA in the core functions of both agencies, arguing that no single government agency can work alone and achieves optimum result, a development that makes it expedient for all of them to work together in order to achieve a common national goal.

Dr. Peterside, who was appointed NIMASA DG about one year ago had since then engaged several segments of the stakeholders and relevant government agencies both locally and internationally in various forms of partnerships with a view to bringing transformation to the maritime industry.

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

The present management headed by Dr. Peterside is currently working towards making Nigeria’s maritime domain safer for business and a hub for maritime activities in the West and Central African Sub-region.