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.
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.
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’’.