Just as indications are beginning to emerge President Mummadu Buhari will on April 20, meet the body of African Maritime leaders under the aegis of Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA), industry experts who have been calling on Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to disburse the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF) say the summit presents yet another training ground for the agency to do the needful to the fund.
The fund had been accumulating for the past 10 years without any disbursement to the shippers who it was statutorily meant for.
The summit, which is part of the third edition of AAMA Conference being organized by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will afford experts from across the continent to brainstorm on ways in which Africa can come together to maximize the economic opportunities of the continent’s large ocean.
The IMO Council is the highest decision making body of the IMO and Nigeria’s participation will further add value to the economy through participation in critical decision making sessions on global maritime affairs.
A statement from NIMASA said over 32 African countries, as well as other maritime countries across the globe with representative from IMO and major shipping Line operators.
Increased interest in growing the maritime industry and need to evolve a stronger economy by boosting non-oil revenue sources is a major part of the Buhari Government economic policy thrust, hence the Federal Government’s huge interest in encouraging greater cooperation among African nation to enable them make the best of the opportunity.
President Buhari who had earlier approved the participation of Nigeria through NIMASA in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) council election coming later in the year, will also address the conference on certain policy directions of his administration as it concerns the maritime industry. The President will also be unveiling the new NIMASA, brand during the three day event.
AAMA Conference will also feature notable speakers like the Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, Chief Executive Officer of South African Maritime and Safety Agency (SAMSA), Sobaitu Tilayi, Malaysian Maritime Authority and European maritime association among others.
On the sidelines of the conference, the NIMASA Management will also hold strategic sessions to garner support for Nigeria’s bid for category “C” seat on the council of IMO.
Category (c) of the IMO consist of 20 States not elected under a or b, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world such as Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey.
While Category A has China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States as members, Category B is where Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden belong.
Analysts say it is a shame that Nigeria controls the highest cargo throughout in the West and Central African regions with over 200 million metric tonnes of cargo annually and more than 6000 ocean going vessels calling at her ports yearly, but shipping activities along the nation’s long coastline is dead due to the agency’s poor encouragement and development which formed major part of the Act establishing it.