NIMASA Experts Train GAMA Personnel On Cabotage  In  Lagos   

By Stephen Ubanna

 Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency and his Counterpart in Ghana Maritime Authority, GAMA,  Kwame Owusu,  may have reached a good working agreement  over the last three years  ‘’to continue  to engage on how strengthen  the protectionist approach  towards  building  indigenous apacity  the maritime  sectors in the two West African countries’’.  

This may have informed why Owusu, the GAMA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, could consider it necessary to send Mrs. Patience Diaba, the agency Director of Legal services and some other members of Staff  of the Ghana maritime Administration  to NIMASA, ‘’to understudy  the implementation of the  operations of the agency Cabotage regime by the   official of theCabotage Department, in order to replicate same in GAMA.

The NIMASA CEO, who could not hide his feelings may have hit the nail on the head when he said that the  GAMA staff understudy  and consequent  replication of  this element  of the NIMASA Cabotage regime shall help Ghana  fund its  indigenous ship  and other maritime assets.   He may have alluded to the Deep Blue Project in which President Muhammadu Buhari had spent $195 million to acquire and take delivery of   maritime security assets comprising of 16 armoured vehicles for Coastal Patrol,  17 Fast Interceptor Boats,  Two Special Mission Vessels, Two Special Mission aircrafts , for surveillance of Nigeria Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, three Helicopters and four unmanned Aerial vehicles from HLSI Services and Technologies Ltd, an Israeli security firm.  

The ten-days traing programme for the GAMA officials which was said to kick-started on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, after the Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023, welcome by Jamoh and his Management  Team to Nigeria and expected to end on May 13, 2023.

Many believe that the real training programe may have stated on May 2, 2023, when the NIMASA CEO, gave the nod to Victor Ochei, an Engr. And the agency Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage services the floor to speak.

Jamoh : DG, NIMASA, Hands Over Sovenir To Mrs. Diaba, Leader of GAMA, Delegation To THe Agency On Cabotage Training

He had hit the ground rolling when he revealed that  the agency had  ‘’evolved  many ways  to get to its present enviable level  in respect of the successful  implementation of the Cabotage regime in Nigeria  which knowledge would be impacted to the GAMA  staff  to replicate in their country without ‘’its pitfalls and struggles learned by them over the last three years to overcome  overtime by attaining the expertise and skills through consistency.

An insider confirmed that  the Cabotage and Legal Department deployed by Engr. Ochei,  The Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage services and Head of the Legal Department  at the instance of  the NIMASA Director General  were said to  have started the Cabotage regime traing programme for the GAMA staff who were said to have listened with rapt attention and taking notes through the enabling Legislations and   instruments that empower them to operate and enforce its procedures.

Jamoh may have gladdened the heart of Mrs. Diaba and team when he assured  them  that the agency have good hands  that would take them  the nitty –gritty  of the  four pillars of the Cabotage regime as implemented in Nigeria in order ‘’to replicate same  in Ghana’’..

It was an eye opener to the GAMA officials who believe that they have not started and that they have not started as they still have a lot to learn from NIMASA to fully reposition their own agency to perform beyond the present elementary level of the agency.

As a  prelude to the putting the GAMA  staff to the rudiments of the training programme , Jamoh, the NIMASA Director General ,  described as an Encyclopaedia of Nigerian maritime sector  had made Mrs. Diaba and her Team to understand that ‘’there cannot be better time  to have come for the Cabotage regime training  programmme other than now   that Nna Akufo, the Ghanaian President  had convened  an extraordinary  summit  of the Heads  of State and Government  of the Gulf Commission in Accra, the country’s capital.jJ

Given the importance attached to the summit by the Nigerian government may have informed why the Katsina state born Nigerian President  had given the keynote address on ‘’strategies  for strengthening peace  and security  in the fight against  maritime –related  crimes in the region’’, amid applause.

He had made the GAMA visitors to understand that that the Nigerian Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage  Act) was promulgated into Law in 2003, by the then President Oluegun Obasanjo but came into force  in Nigeria  in 2004 ,  describing it as  an essential  a ‘’local-capacity Law’’, aimed at empowering  indigenous ship-owners  for greater participation  in the country’s maritime trade’’.

He had Corroborated what Engr. Ochei, Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage services had said   that that  the Cabotage regime is based  on four  key pillars; ensuring that vessels that operate in  Coastal waters within the country’s maritime domain  are  built in Nigeria, owned by Nigerians, manned by Nigerians and Registered I Nigeria to fly the country’s flag.

The NIMASA, boss may have  exposed NIMASA to the envy of the GAMA visitors who appear  to be in a hurry to return home to start implementation of the Cabotage regime in their own country when he disclosed  that ‘’there has  been  an increase  in the number  of local  participations  in  the country’s maritime domain  since the advent of the Cabotage  Act in 2004, noting that  68  percent of  vessels  trading within the country’s maritime space  are Nigerian –flagged and not Liberia or Philippines flagged.

 industry operators   believes   that NIMASA , under the present Management led by Jamoh , could achieve that much within the short period  because they have ensured  that  proper attention is paid  to the essense of the Cabotage regime mandate.

Recall that the NIMASA helmsman, in his welcome address on Tuesday, May 2, 2023,   had given out a bit of the information about the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, when   hen he said that ‘’it is a special  that is basically obtained  through collection  of a two percent surcharge   from the total contract sum  performed by any vessel engaged in Cabotage trade’’.

He noted that  the surcharge is  collected by past and present Administrations  ‘’to offer  financial assistance , create access to funding  by Financial Institutions  with the aim of increasing  indigenous participation capacity  for qualified Nigerians’’.    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *