The Nigerian government has been asked to set up Maritime Development Bank to fast track the development of the sector in the country.
A Chartered shipbroker and maritime expert Mr. Tami Adu said in a special Voice of Nigeria programme “In the News” in Abuja that the maritime sector requires such bank to ensure professionalism and the realisation of the cabotage law objectives.
He said Nigeria maritime industry should be able to capture and utilise all revenues accruals to finance private sector involvement, protection and support as obtained in other nations.
“The emphasis should be on maritime development and some of these monies collected over the period, taxes and dues should go into a single unit where people who understand the industry can sit down and formulates policies and advise government on what to do to promote the maritime sector” he stated.
Mr. Adu said the role of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Control (NIMASA) could not be over emphasised but called on the agency to double its efforts in revenue collection and application of funds especially in promoting private sector participation.
“What I see now is for NIMASA to wait for the oil companies to tell them what they collected and there is no benchmark and you know that they are supposed to collect 2% for the cabotage and 3% charges on cargoes that come into Nigeria,” he noted.
He said Nigeria could do better by benchmarking the collection process to ensure that every single kobo is collected by going after all money due to government.
Coastal water control
The chartered shipbroker said Nigeria had a vibrant maritime sector before the collapse of the National Shipping Line and called for the full coastal waters control to help trap vessels involved in piracy.
Mr. Adu said the major players in the maritime industry should be able to collaborate with the Nigeria Navy to protect the sea and vessels against piracy.
” A vessel could be tracked as well, most of these vessels operating in our shores we can get them a device and place it on board the vessel and at every point you can track a vessel especially big and small tankers. If you see two tankers that are somewhere else from where they are supposed to be you know something is particularly wrong,” Mr Adu added.
He said Nigeria could not afford to allow its waters become porous in terms of security and expect to perform very effectively as a maritime nation and explore the ocean resources.
Nigeria and international maritime
Mr Adu called on Nigeria to learn from Philippine’s experience that made its seafarers internationally acceptable by adopting professionalism and international standard.
He said Nigeria should have training vessels that would train the sailors to match other sailors in the world and the competences that were very important and necessary.
“If the training vessels are not there, there should be a policy, in fact a law that states that every vessel floating in Nigerian waters should have one or two Nigerian trainees on board that vessel”
Mr Adu said Philippines had an effective training programme with training vessels and by the time the Philippine sailor was ready to leave, he would be well trained to match any sailor anywhere in the world, thereby controlling over 25% of the world 1.5 million sailors remitting about $ 3 billion annually back home.
He called on Nigeria to use the maritime industry as an easy way of diversification of the economy as a lot of revenues had been wasted and more could be captured with little professionalism, standard, best practice and accountability.