By Eromosele Abiodun
Federal government agencies in the maritime sector have agreed to synergies for effective regulation of the industry.
The agencies include: Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Inland Water Ways Authority (NIWA) and Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron.
Speaking at a meeting, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, said the initiative was a well-intended move for the agencies to create synergy in the maritime industry.
The sustainability of the synergy, he said was key to efforts to move the maritime industry forward.
“There are a lot of things that we are doing differently and if we come together this will mean effective delivery of programs. We are looking at issues on port operations and also legal issues. For the port operations, we are working assiduously to see that we have 24 hours port operations. We are also looking at digitalisation of port processes. Transactions should be digital so that we have contact less ports, paperless port and we hope that by first quarter of next year we will achieve 98 per cent of our port digitalisation plan.
“This will remove a lot of contacts we the consequence of having open and transparent process. This will go also a long way to see that we are competitive because Nigeria as a country is competing with other ports in the West and Central African region.
“We are also looking at the issue of evacuation and delivery of cargo to the port. We have depended on one mode of transportation, which has had disastrous consequences and now we are looking at inland waterways of barges, rail and the road,” he said.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said improved synergy was the way forward for the industry.
“We are here to commence the improved synergy between the heads of all government agencies in the maritime industry. We have decided to hold monthly meetings between all the agencies. Today we held our maiden meeting, we have present the heads of the NSC, NPA, NIMASA, NIWA and MAN. We will have the meeting in the next four months and after then quarterly.
“The purpose of the meeting is to improve synergy between agencies; we have noted that our operation needs to have improved synergy as it is required. We have had various aspects of overlapping functions that we feel that the CEOs are the ones that will be able to put heads together to address those areas of overlaps.
“We have several initiatives that all agencies have that we need to share amongst ourselves for us to have improved operational opportunities within the maritime industry.
“Why we have always had synergies we feel that bringing it to this level is what is required to make the supervision of the maritime industry easier to the supervising ministry and also our relationship with the National Assembly committees that supervise our activity,” she stated.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Bahir Jamoh, said the effort would ensure that decisions that hitherto used to take months to achieve through emails and other correspondence would now take few days.
“The interesting part of this synergy is that you can see the distances of our offices is not more than five kilometers each but many times decisions using mails and other types of correspondences will take not less than 6 months to conclude those decisions.
“From our deliberations it was quite clear from the last visit of the MD of NPA to NIMASA we have decided on so many issues that has to do with national development.
“Some of the issues have to do with wrecks removal, we observed an overlapping functions on the issues where the NIMASA, NIWA and the NPA have overlapping functions in terms of our own act where each act provides and gives responsibility of each other. Many times, we could not decide who is responsible for what and at the end of the day nothings done, “he said.