House Threatens Zero Allocation to NIMASA over Poor Budget Performance

  • Peterside insists 80% expended on capital projects

Eromosele Abiodun

The House of Representative Committee on Maritime Education, Safety and Administration and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the 2017 appropriation budget of NIMASA.

Speaking during an oversight visit to the agency, the committee chaired by Hon. Muhammed Umar Bago threatened zero allocation to the agency in 2018 if its 2017 capital budget was not fully expended.

Specifically, he said: “It’s a shame if we give them (NIMASA) money to spend on appropriation and because of bureaucratic acumen they are unable to spend it. So, they shouldn’t expect us to give them money next time and we have pledged as a committee and as a parliament that anyone we give resources to spend and did not, we will only give in the next appropriation the percentage of what it spent in the previous year and I have threatened NIMASA I will give them zero allocation in 2018 if they don’t spend money allocated for 2017.”

But the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside disagreed with the committee chairman, saying the agency has expended 80 per cent of its allocation on capital projects.

Countering the committee chair’s assertion, he said: “I think we didn’t quite get the chairman. We have made over 80 percent accomplishment of the capital budget provision though we have challenges in few because we have to go through the regimented procurement process. But I believe that we should be able to get to 100 per cent but if we can’t get to 100 per cent with 80 per cent accomplishment we have done our best.”

Reacting to Bago’s complaint on the nation’s porous exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and trading by foreign vessels, the NIMASA boss stated that initiatives have been deployed to enhance security of the nation’s territorial water including the EEZ.

“He further added: “We should step up coastal security and recall that lot of initiatives have been put in place and one of them is the one approved by the FEC called the presidential maritime security intervention where we are supposed to acquire lot of asset and worked with the Nigerian Navy and Air force to enhance the patrol of our waterways.

“The project is on course and once we commence full implementation, it will yield the desired result. We are pursuing early passage of the anti-piracy bill that will criminalise maritime crimes. We have also invested in maritime intelligence gathering in our maritime surveillance gathering and we are close in integrating the satellite surveillance system in the Navy falcon. ”

According to him, NIMASA has improved on the intelligence gathering and enforcement and is working closely with the Navy beside renewing its MoU with the Nigerian Air Force.

“We should engage more platform and we are doing that. We have done tremendous improvement in coastal security, we have taken note of the suggestions and we will continue to invest our time and talent in improving coastal patrol,” he pledged.

Bago also urged NIMASA and the Ministry of Transportation to come out clean on the issue of waivers to foreign companies.

He noted: “On the first issue of the coastal security, we find out that when you have the satellite image of the Nigeria exclusive economic zones, you have a lot of vessels or ships doing businesses. When you come to NIMASA records they show you don’t give waivers. If you are not giving waivers, what are the foreign companies doing on our waters? If they are illegally doing business on our waters, we should step up and arrest them and that is the primary function of NIMASA. NIMASA must step up its coastal security and guards. They should provide platforms to pursue these criminals out of our water.”