By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Administration(NIMASA) told the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Monday, that it has contributed N16 billion into the federation account, above the N12 billion earlier targeted as revenue to be generated for 2019.
The Director-General (DG) of NIMASA, Mr. Dakuku Peterside made this disclosure at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He said the agency was able to raise its revenue profile because it automized the agency’s operations.
He also explained that automated machines were deployed in all seaports across the country, to ease the process of checking goods at entry points, as part of measures put in place, to hasten decongestion.
The agency appeared before the committee to give an account of their 2019 budget performance of N110.84 billion target but realized N83.49 billion representing 74% while N28 billion was spent for the mandatory maritime fund, Peterside explained.
“As at October 31, we contributed N16 billion to consolidated revenue fund. We have since increased our contribution and in that contribution, we have exceeded our budget target. We have achieved 103% of what is expected of us. Paying to the consolidated revenue fund, Nigeria would now have resources to build roads, railways and develop infrastructure.
” We were able to achieve that because of a number of measures we put in place. Effective monitoring of vessels, enforcement of laws and we also automated our payment systems. We have also commenced surveillance and effective debt recovery”, Dr. Dakuku said.
Addressing journalists after the meeting the DG said the government was doing everything necessary, to put an end to seaports’ decongestion.
“On the issue of decongestion of seaports, nothing can be done besides construction railway tracks in all the seaports as it is currently ongoing as announced by the minister of transport. For instance, the rail between Itakpe to Warri would soon be commissioned and that will go along way in reducing congestion in that particular seaport. There’s no magic to decongesting our seaports. If you notice our new program, we are connecting all ports by rail to interland that would also help”, Dr. Dakuku said.
On her part, the chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Rep. Linda Ikpeazu (PDP-Anambra), queried the agency for the delay in payment of a total sum of N3 billion earmarked for completion of projects in the Maritime University Oron, Akwa Ibom State, despite approval by the National Assembly.
Rep. Ikpeazu commended the DG for performing beyond expectations in its 2019 budget target.
” Mr. DG, when budgets are passed it is not supposed to be discretional. We are excited that you performed very well, but when do you plan on paying the balance for the N3 billion that was appropriated for the Maritime University Oron?