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Hosting AMAA by NIMASA waste of resources as there is no hub to boost—BH Report

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Contrary to the claims of the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside that hosting of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) 2017 conference will boost Nigeria’s quest of becoming maritime hub and destination for the West and Central African region, findings by Business Hilights Economic Research Team (BHERT) have proved otherwise.

The report said “There has not been enough signs to show that ease of doing business has come up to a reasonable limits at the ports and local shippers who are expected to drive the coastal trading plus West and Central African maritime hub remain incapacitated due to non access to Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF) in the last 11 years. The fund by law is domiciled at NIMASA, the chief host of AMAA 2017”.

“The same NIMASA that is hosting the AMAA summit knows that coastal shipping in Nigeria is dead because of the inability of local shippers to access statutory funding facilities from it.

Business Hilights also recalls that in his recent World Press Conference in Lagos, Dr. Peterside only said that his administration is still battling to ease the militating factors in the disbursement of CVFF and wondered how the AMAA summit will deepen a hub that does not exist in the first instance.

BHERT showed that the only available maritime hub close to Nigeria is Cotonou Ports and the major driver of the traffic are Nigerian importers who are running away from Nigerians ports due to poor ease of doing business and port charges.

“Currently, Niger Republic and Chad who are closer to Nigeria route their imports either via Cameroonian or Cotonou ports due to poor ease of doing business.

The report further expressed worry on the state of ports access roads which had been unmotorable for more than five years upon all government and federal agencies promises to fix the roads.

According to the report, part of the reasons why NIMASA moved the AMAA conference to Abuja, a non maritime city instead of Lagos that boosts of two mega ports and two emerging deep seaports is to shield away international participants from seeing the level of inactivity at the ports and the unexplainable bad port access roads; in case they ask for a tour of the ports.

A statement issued by NIMASA noted that hosting of AAMA, which is currently the biggest maritime event on the continent will assemble all the major operators in Abuja for the duration of the event.

However in a statement issued by NIMASA in the AMAA summit, Dr. Peterside, said apart from showcasing Nigeria’s Maritime Potentials to the Maritime Community in Africa, it will also bring about interactions, business meetings, exchange of ideas and contacts among the maritime stakeholders across Africa including those from Nigeria.

He said, “In addition to the maritime administrations that would be attending the event other critical stakeholders such as shipping companies, terminal operators, shipping agents, freight forwarders and other sundry maritime and shipping services providers would also be in attendance and this will bring about exchange of ideas and contacts with the Nigerian stakeholders”.

The NIMASA DG also said that 32 countries from all parts of Africa are expected to participate at the continental conference and a number of maritime stakeholder organizations around the world. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) delegation will be led by Mr. Kitack Lim the Secretary General of IMO which is a United Nations specialized agency that regulates shipping globally.

Dr. Peterside also said that the convening of these Maritime Administrators in Nigeria would afford the country the opportunity of improving its economy via the maritime sector as issues such as Ports development and its modernization, maritime tourism, shipbuilding and repairs will be at the front burner of the discussions.

He equally added that interactions among importers, exporters, shipping firms, freight forwarders and even chandelier’s, among several others will ultimately lead to increase in maritime activities in Nigeria thereby helping the country attain the desired hub port status within the sub-regions and ultimately advance the Nigerian economy.

It would be recalled that the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) was formed following the signing of the African Transport and Maritime Charter in 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to bring together all players in the African maritime sector. The Association is an umbrella body of five African Maritime Stakeholders’ groups namely: Association of Maritime Administrations of Africa, Africa’s Ship Registry Forum, African Ship Owners Association as well as Africa Shippers’ Council and Seafarers’ Forum with the aim of promoting the development of Africa’s maritime regulatory and maritime environment.

The event which is themed “Sustainable use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas” will hold from 19th to 21st of April 2017 and also feature the unveiling of the new NIMASA brand by President Muhammadu Buhari.