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Maritime stakeholders’ chide NIMASA on release of industry forecast for 2018

Just as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has hinted its readiness to release the empirical forecast that will determine the outlook of the maritime industry in Nigeria by the first quarter of 2018, stakeholders have expressed worry on what they described as very poor outing of the agency in 2017.

Stakeholders’ who spoke to our correspondents said as far as core maritime development which revolves round indigenous shipping activities and growth, there is nothing to show for the passing year and as such, it will be hard to believe whatever outlook NIMASA will come up with in its industry forecast for next year.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who dropped the forecast hint in a statement failed to give any form of insights on what the agency contributed to the industry in terms of its core functions and duties in developing indigenous shipping and shippers in 2017.

Rather he said “on the positive side it will look at where the opportunities will be in the year 2018 & 2019; will greater investment in oil and gas translate to more demand for offshore support vessels? What are the industry perspectives? What government and her agencies should do to attract more investment in the industry amongst other salient issues.”

NIMASA was smartly silent on issues bordering on disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) and The Maritime Fund (TMF), where its core functions and the needed activator to deepen the capacity of indigenous shippers.

Before now, indigenous shipping associations including SOAN and NISA have tried every means possible to persuade NIMASA to do the needful which is the disbursement of the multimillion dollar facilities, but nothing came out of the efforts throughout 2017, rather several conferences were organized here and there with assorted papers presented while the industry kept running dry of activities by local shippers.

Peterside hinted further that the forecast will among other things look at “The expected impact of NIMASA’s partnership with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on Cabotage implementation and international shipping will be another area the forecast will focus on. The various projected impact of shift to digital shipping in Nigeria and its attendant effect on Nigerian shippers will also be analyzed in details”.

But analysts are taken aback as it will be building castle in the air as there has not been any meaningful move by the agency in statutorily supporting the shippers in the last two years.