The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has set up two committees to brainstorm and assist in laying foundations for the establishment of a national carrier and the overhauling of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Experts and stakeholders in the committee include the pioneer Chairman, Indigenous Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, former Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron Rector, Engr. Olu Akinsoji; Arrowhead of Ship-owners Association of Nigeria, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun; Lloyds Ambassador, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori; the Secretary General, Abuja MoU, and former NIMASA Director General, Mfon Usoro; and Shipping Forum Boss, Chief Margaret Orakwusi- Onyema among others.
The settig up of the groups comes after last Thursday’s Maritime Summit of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) at Sheraton Hotels where the Minister emphasized that since he was not a maritime expert, he would ensure he harmonises the strength of the industry operators, to restore the country’s lost glory, following the collapse of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
The first committee whose duty would be to guide the authorities on how to create the national carrier, it was learnt also has the job of midwifing vibrant ships that would fly the nation’s flags, in addition to providing oasis of refuge for Nigerian cadets, whether studying at home or abroad.
The second committee was saddled with the onerous task of making the NIMASA as agency work; by providing strong teeth where it lacks it, making sure the agency conscientiously works within the ambit of its enabling Act; in addition to ensuring that the Cabotage law is allowed to function in tandem with the nation’s economic interest.
According to Maritime First, fundamental issues which included those bordering on freights, carriage of goods on Cost, Insurance and Freight, as against the current Free on Board regime were all discussed also.
Amaechi’s attention was also drawn to how Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia amongst others have made their shipping policies fuel the growth of their countries economy.
One of those present at the meeting, the Lloyds ambassador, Emmanuel Ilori, was quoted as saying that the meeting was good and that “it went beyond mere robbing of minds”.
He pointed out that from all indications, the Minister had shown genuine commitment, to deliver, aside from seeing the complexity of the industry.