Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed in Lagos, yesterday, that the Cabotage law has created about 7, 000 jobs in the last six months.
To this end, Dakuku pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Anti-Piracy Bill, to protect the Nigerian waterways from maritime crimes and open up opportunities in the blue economy.
Dakuku disclosed this at an interactive session with the media, where he also opened up on how the Agency has come up with strategies that have ensured steady rise in the number of jobs created through manning, crewing, stevedoring, and dockworkers engagement.
According to him, NIMASA has positioned the maritime industry as one of the key sectors that will support Buhari’s realisation when he announced, in his Democracy Day broadcast of June 12, of bringing 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. The NIMASA boss was confident that maritime possesses a vast opportunity for our economic growth.
The NIMASA DG said implementation of a five-year plan, for the cessation of waivers, has encouraged the employment of more Nigerians by vessel owners and that the effect of the new Cabotage regime is still yielding positive results, as more Nigerians are set to be engaged in various sub-sectors of the maritime industry due to the discouragement of the dominance of the sector by foreigners.
He added: “We have always known that the political will to deal with the issue of waivers in the Cabotage regime had been the challenge in the past.
“Our pronouncement and implementation of the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy has led to the engagement of over 7,000 Nigerians in various sub-sectors within the industry. This has also resulted in 32 per cent increase in vessels operating under the Cabotage regime in the first two quarters of 2019.”
On piracy attacks on Nigerian waters, Dakuku said the agency is taking strategic steps to deal with the matter and that the Anti-Piracy Bill it sponsored has been passed by the National Assembly and that, as soon as it gets the required presidential assent, the new law will help tame the piracy monster and open up more opportunities in the sector.
He said although the steps taken were challenging, the agency is committed to ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment to promote participation in maritime business.
Detailing the achievements of NIMASA, Dakuku said the agency has inspected and surveyed over 600 vessels calling at Nigerian ports, an unprecedented feat, which he said showed that Nigeria is alive to its port state and flag-state responsibilities. He also said the increased inspection and survey has ensured that sub-standard vessels no longer call at Nigerian ports, which has also improved safety on Nigerian waters.
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