By Stephen Ubanna
Aliko Dangote, a business mogul and President, Dangote Group of Companies has identified the maritime industry as a key element that would re-stimulate the growth of the nation’s economy.
Dangote was said to have made his views known while commenting on the country’s economic potentials and the vast opportunities in the maritime sector. His pronouncement came on the heels of a Statement made by Paulen Tallen, a on-time Deputy governor in Plateau state and now minister of Women Affairs, who noted that the maritime sector had been ‘’galvanised into an inclusive community of stakeholders and players working to grow the economy’’.
An elated Tallen averred that the time has come for investors to take advantage of the enormous opportunities in the nation’s maritime sector to invest in the Nigerian economy. Tallen was said to have made her feelings known at the maritime Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ,NIMASA, which is geared towards reinvigorating the economy.
Given the remarks of Dangote, that the nation’s maritime sector is the key to the development of the economy, the business mogul had said averred ’as stakeholders, ”we are committed to supporting the Federal Government towards achieving a vibrant maritime industry in Nigeria, stressing his unflinching support to the industry’.
He gave kudos to the Dakuku Peterside, led NIMASA, Management, for being focused in providing an enabling environment for the industry players in the country’ He noted that’’ it is the teamwork initiated by Peterside , the agency Director General that had made all the achievements possible over the last four years, stressing that the agency’s decision in recognising and honouring some of its staff and industry stakeholders because of their immense contribution to the Industry speaks volume.
Over 181 Staff of the agency who were said to have put in between 15 and 30 years, were said to have bagged long service awards. Constance Omagbemi, got the covted employee of the year award while GAC Shipping Company won the overall shipping Company of the year award, among eight other Industry operators who were given merit awrds, for their outstanding performance. Among the notable Companies were Total Exploration and Production Company, AP Mollar Terminal, POPULAR, APMT, Tincan Island Container Terminal, TCICT, and the Maritime Accademy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom state.
Others on the NIMASA, award list were West African Ventures,Awaritse Nigeria Limited and Sea Navigation International Limited.
An eleated Dangote, , described the NIMASA ‘’ maritime industry awards as a very good initiative , one necessary to stimulate excellence in the country’s economy’’.
According to him, the agency has performed well to enhance the nation’s maritime safety and security which had created a viable platform for better indigenous participation in the industry and Capacity building. Given his knowledge of the Indutry, he disclosed that NIMASA has tried to’’ develop adequate manpower and infrastructure in the sector in line with international best practices’’.
Earlier, an aapreciative Tallen, the minister of Women Affairs, had commended NIMASA’s push for gender equality in maritime sector, stressing that it has created an enabling environment where actors are comfortable to contribute their talents to the sustainable development of the country’s ocean resources for economic growth. She extolled the virtues of women in the Nigerian maritime industry and further advised them to make the best use of the opportunity created for them to excel in the industry.
She opined that with the last year’s focus on women empowerment by the International Maritime Organisation ,IMO, and the 2019 theme of the Day of the Seafarer being ” I am on Board with Gender Equality’’, it is only fair and honourable that ‘’we commend the efforts of the NIMASA, Director General, for embracing the message and meritoriously allowing and entrusting women staff within the agency with many top positions.”
The minister further commended NIMASA, over its support for the government’s economic diversification drive through its efforts to develop the blue economy.
“Not only has the Agency in many ways transformed the maritime industry by advancing it to international specifications and requirements”,’ She confirmed that, it recognises the outstanding actors who have facilitated and fostered this change. The former Plateau state Deputy governor explained that whatever encomiums showered on Peterside and his Staff were in order.
Appealing to other industry stakeholders to take a cue from NIMASA, she maintains that ‘’it takes Teamwork which must be recognised by all and sundry for changes to occur.
According to her, ‘’the governement is doing a lot to encourage female participation and equality in the nation’s maritime industry’’. She alluded to the fact that the government’s commitment to the promotion of gender equality in the maritime sector was further demonstrated by Aisha Buhari, the First Lady, who was represented by Dolapo Osinbajo, the wife of Yemi Osibajo, the Vice President, during the 2019 Day of the Seafarer ceremony.
At present, there are many women holding key positions of Director and holding other top level positions in NIMASA and as Peterside has continued “to invite more women to participate in the already male dominated sector.