The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside says the maritime sector in Nigeria is the soul of the country’s economy.
Dr Peterside said this at a workshop on “Local Content Implementation in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry: A Cost Reduction Strategy” organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) on the sidelines of the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas.
The NIMASA boss observed that the oil and gas sector is often referred to as the heart of the Nigerian economy without taking cognisance of the fact that the maritime sector remains the soul of the economy without which oil and gas exploration may just be in vain.
“Apart from the fact that most of the oil and gas exploration, which is the major revenue earner of the country is done in the maritime environment, vessels are needed to transport these products from one point to the other making the maritime sector integral to the whole economic process,” he said.
Dr. Peterside disclosed that the oil and gas industry in Nigeria will not truly develop unless the maritime sector grows with it.
While calling on investors to commit more resources to building local content in the maritime industry, the NIMASA boss assured operators that it is in their interest to build local capacity saying an investment in this regard will certainly be mutually beneficial to all parties.
Dr. Peterside who expressed concern that NIMASA as a strategic agency of government has been grossly misunderstood assured stakeholders of the commitment of the new management to not only engender the development of local content in the maritime industry but also push for the review of the Cabotage Act to make it more beneficial to Nigerians.
While decrying the situation where all of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources are freighted by foreign vessels, he called on International Oil Companies (IOCs) to engage eligible Nigerians in the lifting of the country’s hydrocarbons and promised to assist in building the capacity of indigenous operators to participate more actively in ferrying Nigeria’s oil and gas resources.
He assured operators in the oil and gas sector that more than ever before, NIMASA is ready to enforce its statutory responsibilities especially in the area of preserving and protecting the marine environment from the adverse impact of oil exploration and other commercial activities.
He warned that the agency will no longer tolerate a situation where IOCs renege on the payment of levies due to the agency as enshrined in its enabling instruments.