By Godfrey Bivbere
THE new management team at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, led by Dr. Bashir Jamoa, has been advised to use this period of Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic to develop capacity for shipbuilding in the country.
Giving the advice in an exclusive interview with Vanguard Maritime Report in Lagos, immediate past President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN and Chief Executive Officer of Starz Group, Greg Ogbeifun, said NIMASA should commence implementation of the strategy.
Ogbeifun explained that the multiplier effects of such action include but are not limited to shipbuilding capabilities, providing employment, reducing capital flight and development of local capacity in other sub-sectors.
He said: “Why don’t we look at the ship that operates in our cabotage area and see how we can assist in building those small, small ships and stop building them outside the country? That has a multiplier effect, first of all, you are transferring skills in-country, you are building shipbuilding capabilities in-country, you are providing employment, you are reducing capital flight and these are things that are constantly being needed by the international oil companies for their oil exploration, that is low hanging fruits. These are things that can be done whilst you are waiting to know wants happening globally with respect to coronavirus.”
He further explained that the present situation of coronavirus affecting the world and the recent ban by the Federal Government on travelling by its officials has made imperative for the new NIMASA boss to stay back and focus on developing the shipping industry.
In his words, “I expect the new DG to sit down and address issues, thank God there coronavirus everywhere and the government has banned travel for government officials.
“He can sit down and see how he can use the resources in the country to achieve the things he wants to achieve, human capacity development, infrastructure development, maritime security and so on, he has to look inwards. Hopefully, he will be able to achieve quicker milestone than previous administrations,” he concluded.