By Godwin Oritse
AHEAD of the forth coming National Conference, stakeholders in the maritime sector are currently working round the clock to present a common position on the development of the industry.
Already, several meetings have been slated for Lagos and other lithoral states to get the views of other operators from outside Lagos.
Speaking to Vanguard on the development, a marine surveyor, Engr Akin Olaniyan, said that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should take the lead and provide leadership in this regard.
He said “ I think we should have a well debated position for the maritime industry and this position should be presented in the confab by the appointed representative(s) of the stakeholders and of course, NIMASA. I am not sure there is still time for such now.
“ I expect NIMASA being the custodian of the industry to have factored this into their agenda. In any event, the authorities – and here I mean NIMASA, should be seen to carry everybody along in its agenda for developing and re-orientating the industry, we certainly need a new re-orientation in our industry and NIMASA must lead the way.
“It is then we can follow because there is a disconnect somewhere and we all must take the blame.
”In our frustrations many times, it seems as if NIMASA is flagging administration for foreign vessels and foreigners rather than for Nigerians; it does not augur well for our cabotage.
“Yes, I hear a lot of efforts and finances have been directed to building of training infrastructures and facilities, good, but in this day and age when even the Federal Government is looking towards privatisation and encouraging private entrepreneur growth, NIMASA should be seen more to support and motivate the private sector and not to compete against it. Again, we, the stakeholders have our obligations too to meet which we have not.
As a class surveyor and maritime consultant, he explained that he has seen a lot of bad practices being perpetrated by the so called stakeholders in an effort to meet up.
He noted that some unwholesome practices even border on reckless criminality, from forgery and falsification to negligence and lack of competence.
“NIMASA must redirect the industry; they must support Nigerians. They must encourage business in the industry, they must provide cargo security for ship owners, they must motivate and propel commercial activities in the industry”. he added. Speaking to Vanguard, President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, said his group has been meeting with other likeminded groups for the same purpose.