The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside today gave an account of his one year stewardship as NIMASA head, stating that though he met an agency with pronounced divisions, he had tidied it up to deliver on its core mandate.
The Agency arrowhead indicated this at Special news conference, which held at the Renaissance Hotels, GRA Ikeja in Lagos, noting that he has so reorientated the personnel to imbibe the culture of reform, restructure and reposition, that the country has currently achieved an 80 percent compliance, in the area of ISPS Code prescriptions.
“About a year ago when we assumed office, we discovered that the Agency was still struggling with the framework of the two Federal Parastatals that had been merged to form NIMASA. This conflict of identity was inevitable, as the two previous bodies had been separate entities with peculiar objectives, business processes and operational complexities.
“To merge them, though imperative, required a sustainable process for management of results and expectations.
“To achieve this, we set about what we christened the 3R model which is to Reform, Restructure, and Reposition the Agency for the new roles and responsibilities within our core mandate”, Dakuku stated, stressing that he had truly injected a new work ethics.
“We have injected a completely new work ethic and energy in the Agency by creating a SMART vision, mission statement and core values. We have also introduced knowledge transfer sessions to improve on internal capacity at minimal cost!”, the agency Boss indicated, noting that one major part of his reforms had actually been the un-spared operational restructuring ,which subsequently, has led to devolution of powers, from the centre to the zonal offices.
“This is to remove avoidable bureaucratic bottlenecks while reducing time for business transactions with the Agency. This is a work in progress and we are optimistic that the decentralization will be amplified in the next 90 days”, he stated.
He highlighted that the agency management has also developed a strategic document with short, medium and long term components to serve as an unambiguous road map, adding that the document has now been approved by the Board of Directors; all within only the first year in office, aside from ensuring the promotion of staff, particularly those into Management cadre.
“This was a legacy achievement because this type of promotion had only happened once, in 2007, close to a decade ago.
Taking a hard look at the nation’s waters and beyond, Dr Peterside said the agency under his watch has significantly improved the country’s status within the sub region, through both service delivery and sheer management.
“The Regional Search and Rescue Committee which is made up of nine member countries under the Nigerian SAR Region, namely: Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, D.R. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principle and Togo was dormant. They never met to discuss modalities of collaboration for almost a decade.
“However, since this new management came on board, the Agency has successfully hosted two Sub – Regional Technical Committee meetings to build a formidable regional network. The regional network has increased our level of alertness, thus improving our capacity to respond to distress calls, which has ultimately led to considerable reduction in the cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Our quest to achieve a safer maritime domain has seen us working on an Anti – Piracy Bill.
“Having realized the need to enhance the safety of boat users in Nigeria, we have secured the approval of the Honorable Minister of Transportation to increase the number of Search and Rescue Marshalls from 100 to 1000
“We have intensified the Agencies drive to ensure strict compliance with the provision of the ISPS Code. The result is that Nigeria now, has a compliance rate of almost 80 percent, as 114 port facilities out of the total 145 ports in Nigeria are now fully ISPS compliant.
“Let’s not forget that NIMASA was only appointed the Designated Authority for the implementation of ISPS Code in Nigeria barely 5 years ago when compliance, level was barely 13%.
“Though the 8% of the remaining 31 port facilities are currently pursuing compliance, our goal is to target a 100% compliance level within the next twelve months. Our efforts have attracted commendation from the United States Coast Guard team that visited Nigeria earlier this year”, he pointed out.
“On the subject of surveillance and maritime domain awareness, I am glad to inform you that NIMASA now operates a 24-hour surveillance system, which captures all vessels in the Nigerian Maritime domain irrespective of weather conditions. We can now achieve a complete profile analysis, which includes the Flag, Registered owner, Operator, Beneficial owner and movements over a specified period. This system enables us to take very swift decisions, in real time on any targeted ship. Currently all offshore area of interest has been electronically cordoned off with a guard zone via our surveillance system and we can at once view live feed (activities) especially in the oil fields and on crude oil platforms.
“The system has not only greatly increased our capacity to block revenue leaks but has increased our revenue as all vessels coming into Nigeria are now captured and analyzed for billing”, Dakuku indicated further, noting that his management has been able to also integrate surveillance data with billing control information thereby driving a desire for the agency’s Billing System to be fully automated.
“This new innovation encourages seamless operations and has helped reduce billing operational time by two-third; from an whooping 72hrs down to 24hrs while keeping our eyes the target timeline of 6hrs billing”, stated Dakuku, maintaining that his preoccupation with sound management principles, he did not neglect the importance of revenue.
“The quest to enhance our revenue by identifying untapped resources was by the current management in the area of statutory provisions of the sea protection Levy Gazette. Within the last one year, NIMASA has commenced the billing of Pipelines; oil Rigs and FPSO’s.
” So, Conscious of our mandate: to promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping in international and coastal shipping trade; we are poised more than ever, to achieving this obligation.
“We understand it requires a great deal of capacity building, especially human, infrastructural and tonnage capacities of our indigenous shipping operators”, he stated further.
He however grieved on the nation’s low level participation in commercial shipping trade, assuring that he would now assiduously work to effect a positive change.
“We have reviewed the participation of Nigerians in the industry of and are not satisfied with the outcome. The summary of our findings reveals a very low indigenous participation in international commercial shipping trade in Nigeria. As far-fetched as it sounds, there are no Nigerian flagged ocean-going vessels known to us.
“In the course of our review also, we observed the salience of cargo availability to the commercial fortunes of a shipowner/operator and to our national tonnage growth. We noted also that commercial shipping will less likely develop without conscious, proactive, well-structured and monitored government intervention as is done in other sector.
“One area of such intervention urgently needed is cargo available
“Development maritime nations have at one time or the other consciously supported, and are still supporting, their indigenous operators in building their commercial shipping capacities. Recently, a bipartisan bill was brought before the US Congress aimed at strengthens indigenous participation in shipping. The Bill seeks to allow US flagged vessels carry up to 30% of the US LNG as a matter of both economic importance and security concerns.
“On our part, plans are in top gear to use our exiting enabling laws to make public cargo available for indigenous shipping operators in order to improve their commercial fortunes and competitive advantage over their well-capitalized and established foreign counterparts.
“We are out to enforce section 36 and 37 of the NIMASA Act 2007towards building indigenous capacities in shipping. This is already at Executive Management level and we are determined to take it to the highest level of bureaucratic, legislative and executive engagements necessary. We shall also involve our esteemed stakeholders at the right time because we understand they have role to play in the entire process”, Dr Peterside concluded, scoring the agency high on the Nigerian Shipping Development Programme (NSDP) initiative, while informing his audience that the agency would soon take delivery of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard on the African continent, even as he continues to work round the clock to see Nigeria change its controversial Free on Board (fob) policy to a more desirable, encompassing and participatory Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) regime