A clear indication of creating industry confusion and targeted deconstruction of issues in Maritime development are emerging when comments and body languages of the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, are put on the scale of assessment.
Latest instance of the scenario played out in Lagos recently when he, during a paper presentation to the Management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Lagos titled; ‘Introducing the Blue Economy Concept;, said that in realizing a desirable blue sea economy framework, participatory engagement and agenda setting, participatory policy design and implementation and multi sector partnership are key areas that must be considered.
Industry pundits argue that there is no way Blue Economy can be well harnessed when indigenous shippers are still on their kneels, begging and crying for the disbursment of both the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) and The Maritime Fund (TMF), more than two years of his appointment at NIMASA.
It would recalled that he had earlier noted that he lacks the powers to disburse CVFF and has been silent on issues concerning the disbursement of TMF.
But according to the spirit of the relevant Acts including NIMASA Establishment Act and Maritime Act, the DG is empowered to do the needful by disbursing the facilities to indigenous shippers so as to deepen their operational capabilities. He has not done these statutory functions, but in his lecture he averred that “in order to harness the opportunities derivable from the Blue Economy in Africa there is a need for a proper framework and structure which will enhance the coordination of the sector”.
Analysts say the best way to achieve what NIMASA boss is implying is to empower the local shippers by way of disbursing both CVFF and TMF, domiciled in the agency.
Speaking further, he said the Blue Economy which stands on three pillars namely; Environmental Sustainability, Economic Sustainability and Social Sustainability has a lot of benefits to the growth and development of the sector in Africa, thereby making it compete favourably with its counterparts in other continents.
According to Peterside, “The blue economy in the African context covers both aquatic and marine spaces including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground waters. It also encompasses a range of productive sectors; Fisheries, Aquaculture, Tourism, Transport, Ship building, energy, bio prospecting, under-water mining and related activities”.
In general, industry stakeholders especially shippers seem to be the worst hit in the current administration at NIMASA as there had been claims and counter claims on whether CVFF and TMF exist at all and if they do, what is delaying the usage by shippers whom they were meant for.