By Oko Ebuka
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has said that piracy and other maritime crimes have reduced drastically in the nation’s maritime domain, making it safer for investment.
Peterside, who disclosed this in a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Mr Isichei Osamgbi, over the Agency’s budget before the Senate Committee on Maritime Transport, recently in Abuja, noted that efforts being put in place by the Federal Government to tackle maritime crimes were now yielding results.
He added that NIMASA would continue to step up efforts to ensure that Nigerians benefit from the enormous potentials in the sector.
According to him, “You are aware of all the measures we are putting in place to take the Nigerian maritime sector to where it belongs and when you look at the multifaceted approach of the Federal Executive Council’s approved deep blue project which covers every aspect of maritime security, you will realise that a lot has been done to get us to this stage.”
The DG also said that the recent rating by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has shown that the Nigerian waters are now safer and had further boosted investors’ confidence in the Nigerian maritime sector locally and globally.
He noted that all these had been achieved through collaborations driven by NIMASA, working with other relevant agencies of government.
He stated: “Statistics do not lie and so when the IMB came up with the report of our waters being safer, we were not surprised because we know the level of work we have done with the support of the federal government to ensure that the Nigerian Maritime Sector becomes a haven for investors.
“The IMB 2019 first quarter report stated that the Nigerian maritime domain recorded no vessel hijack in the period under review, the first time since the first quarter of 1994 that Nigeria would have such record. The report also said between January and March 2019, Nigeria has a decrease in piracy incidents, compared to the same period in 2018.”
Peterside also said maritime could fund a large percentage of Nigeria’s budget if properly harnessed, adding that despite increases in the Agency’s contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), NIMASA remained committed to doing more, especially through the recently launched final billing system, the automation of all its processes, and other strategies being put in place by the Executive Management team to block leakages.
IMB Director, Pottengal Mukundan, was also quoted as saying Nigeria was gaining advantage from coordinated responses to incidents through its maritime regulatory agency, NIMASA, and the Nigerian Navy.