NIMASA: Hope Brightens For Indigenous Ship Owners Participation In Lifting The Country’s Crude To The International Oil Market

By Stephen Ubanna  

Between 2017 and now, past and the  present Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had been on the neck of the Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , NNPC, to change the terms of trading the country’s crude oil  from Free On Board, FOB, to Cost Insurance freight, CIF,  

Dakuku Peterside , a Rivers state born Politician, who in 2015, had contested the governorship election of the state on the ticket of the All Progressive Congress, APC, but lost out to Nyensom Wike, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, but subsequently compensated as the Director General, of the Maritime Regulatory agency was said to have started pushing  NNPC, for a change  of the country’s crude oil trading policy from  FOB to CIF.

The then Peterside  led NIMASA Management , may  have had  their reason, for engaging NNPC, in talks   to change the country’s Crude oil trading policy. This is because the FOB, arrangement was said to be  benefitting only   the buyers of the country’s Crude oil  to the disadvantage  of Nigerians  as they  are at liberty to   engage the services of any Foreign  shipping companies of their choice excluding indigenous shipping owners. The Wuham Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China may have exposed the exposed the economic sabotage of the Foreign shipping Companies as they refused the lift the  country’s wet cargo despite the good bargain which his to their favour.

Jamoh: DG, NIMASA

Last March, Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, had cried out  that the country  was struggling to find  buyers for its  Crude oil of over 50  cargoes that were yet to be sold. These unsold cargoes, according NNC, sources  represent  over 70 % of the country’s Crude oil exports and thus, having  serious  negative impact  on the country’s  foreign  exchange earnings and its revenue. Many believe that if the Nigerian wet cargo are sold on CIF, it would not  be difficult in the lifting the cargo the oversea buyers in their port of destination  by the Nigerian ship owners as they would have the interest of the  nation at heart.   The outcome of their various meetings was that the two Organisations had set up a Team to review  and come up  with modalities  for the implementation of a new trade policy.  That was how far they could go until Peterside was removed from office  by President Muhammadu Buhari Llast March.

Until his removal from office, Peterside, the former NIMASA , Director General, was said to have  reached out to the Godwin Emiefele led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to secure a favourable lending  rate  from the banks  to the indigenous ship owners in ship acquisition.  The then NIMASA Director General  was  said to have also used his contact with Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transport to push for the lifting of ban on the disbursement of  the N72.4 billion Cabotage Financing Fund, CVFF.

  The  NNPC, officials in the Crude oil Marketing Division, may have felt the clamour for the change in the country Crude Oil trading policy  championed by Petrside  has died down with his removal and  the appointment of Bashir Jamoh, as the  new  Director General of NIMASA. They may have got it wrong.  This is because Jamoh, who was  a chip of the old block and who was privy to all the discussions between the agency previous Management  and NNPC, on the FOB and CIF, trading policy are well known him. 

Jamoh,DG, NIMASA With Okoye, NNPC, GGM, Crude Oil Marketing Division, During A Visit In Lagos

It was therefore not very surprising why  he has revived efforts  to ensure a hange  in the Terms  of Trade  for the affreightment  of the country’s crude oil from FOB to CIF. Sir Billy  okoye , Group General Manager, of the oil Conglomerate, Crude Oil Marketing Division , may have known that the issue is no longer a laughing matter as the pressure mounts  for  a change  in the sale  of the country Crude oil trading policy.  He was he was said to have  led a powerful NNPC delegation  to NIMASA, to rub minds w with  Jamoh, the agency Director General.  The visit may have been at the instance of Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, in order o find a lasting solution to the vexed issue.

Recall that the NIMASA, Director  General who had been shuttling between Lagos and Abuja , over the last four months , which had facilitated holding discussions with  Ibok Ekwe Ibas, a Vice Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff, Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of Police, Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and  Mohammad Babandede, Director General, Nigerian Immigration SeRvice, NIS, on the need for inter- agency Collaboration to enhance the  security of the nation’s maritime domain. 

Insiders believe that the visit was sequel to his earlier visit  to   NNPC  to hold talks  with Kyari, the NNPC boss. The visit may have provided  him opportunity to express his appreciation to Kyari, the NNPC boss, ‘’for accommodating  the agency’s interest s in oil transactions  where  NIMASA  had relied on data  from the national oil  company’’.

The NIMASA Director General, according to Philip Kyanet , a Deputy Director and the agency Head of Corporate Communications had recalled the Nigerian oil giant  grant  of the agency’s requests and generous pledge  of Cooperation  expressing his appreciation to the agency.

The NIMASA boss who could not hide his feelings  may have taken advantage of his visit to NNPC, to inform the GMD, that  the agency  was working towards  the implementation  of a National  Maritime security  strategy  that would enhance  the security of  the Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

 He is optimistic that with  the efforts  put in place  by the agency in the recent time   to improve   security in the country’s maritime domain  with the support of the other security agencies,’’ it would go a long way ‘’to minimize the cost  of insecurity , which the national oil company bears on behalf of the country, in the shipment of the country’s crude to the foreign buyers in their respective ports of destination.

  Jamoh may have gladdened the heart of the NNPC, boss when he further  told  him  that the Maritime Intelligence  Unit, MIU, which many believe was  patterned after the NCS, Customs Intelligence Unit, CIU,  was part of the agency efforts  to ensure a proactive  approach  to the security of Nigeria waters and the Gulf of Guinea. According to him ’’the focus is to try  to nip  maritime attacks  in the bud  by tracking  the criminals  from the pre-planning, planning to execution  stages.  

He was said to have ended his discussion s with the NNPC boss by reminding him that the continuous sale of the country’s Crude on  FOB  when other members of the Organisation of Oil Exporting countries , OPEC, had adopted the CIF, policy in the sale of their Crude oil, was not helping the economy in any way.

A not too happy  Jamoh,  was said to have  repeatedly  reminded Kyari, the NNPC  helmsman that ‘’under  the FOB trading policy,  Nigeria has no reasonable control  over the delivery of its Crude oil as regards to carriage, insurance and other ancillary services’’. He noted that under the CIF arrangement , ‘’the country  would be able to maintain  complete control  over the distribution  of its Crude which  can be leveraged upon   to enhance  the competitive  advantage  of the indigenous operators’’.

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