Reps lauds NIMASA’s budget performance despite COVID-19 hiccups …Says Cabotage Act Amendment Bill in progress
The House of Representatives, Nigeria’s lower legislative arm has commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA over its 2020 budget performance status despite the economic and socio-political hiccups caused by the outbreak of COVID-I9 pandemic. Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration Lynda Ikpeazu, who gave the commendation in Lagos during an oversight assessment by members, said the agency has done well, especially given the distortions caused by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the chairman has also disclosed that the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act Amendment Bill has gone through First Reading in the House of Representatives.
Ikpeazu expressed confidence in the current management of NIMASA led by its Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh. According to her, Dr. Jamoh had laid down a clear roadmap for taking the Agency to greater heights, and pledged the lower chamber’s support.
Recall that the new DG had on assumption of duty in March launched a three-pronged agenda for maritime industry development focused on Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Shipping Development.
The House Committee chairman said by that agenda, “The Director-General has laid a good foundation for the committee and the committee is here to monitor the activities of the Agency for 2020 and see how it has performed so far and further legislative assistance that can be brought to bear in order to generate more revenue for the government.”
She added, “The DG of NIMASA is doing his best to ensure that he repositions the agency to make sure the agency delivers on its core mandates. We will make sure we give the DG all the necessary support he needs because we have seen him moving towards the right direction and, most especially, he has made it clear to us that he wants to address insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea. The issue of security goes a long way to affect revenue generation in the maritime sector.”
The chairman also hinted that the Cabotage Act Amendment Bill, which had gone through First Reading at the lower house, would reflect contemporary issues that would be beneficial to indigenous shipowners in the country.
“A more responsive Cabotage law will stimulate opportunities and policies for giving seafarers jobs and improve on shipbuilding capacity,” Ikpeazu stated.
Jamoh, in his response, thanked the committee for the cooperation and support it had accorded NIMASA. He said on his watch human capacity development in the maritime industry would continue to take pride of place.
The Director-General stated, “Human beings are the most important link in the maritime industry and, at the same time, the weakest and most complicated in the industry. This administration will take the issue of training and capacity development of staff serious and we have gone further to maintain a close relationship with the maritime workers union to ensure that dockworkers are properly trained.”