When this Agency was established in 2006 from the merger of the National Maritime Authority and Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council, it was a landmark moment in the African state’s history. Since its foundation, NIMASA has always tried to prioritise Nigeria’s place at the top of the maritime agenda. It strives at all times to achieve safe, secure shipping, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity.
Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, Director General, spoke about his desire to leave a mark where government institutions are run “transparently”. He is hopeful of an agency where systems are digitalised in the not too distant future. Moreover, he has ambitions to employ both indigenous people and those from abroad.
“We want private investment so thousands of Nigerians can be employed in the maritime sector. We also want to see foreigners as well as local Nigerians participating in the Cabotage trade. We want to see a complete transformation of the sector. We want to see a visible change,” he says.
Its forward-thinking nature also helps give NIMASA the edge. This is typified by its Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme undertaken in 2008 to encourage young Nigerians to embark on maritime careers. In 2012, the number of beneficiaries on the NSDP has significantly increased and Mr. Akpobolokemi stated that the whole area of manpower development has been one of the most important areas of the agency’s transformation during his tenure.
“This year alone we are going to train close to 2,000 seafarers in different parts of the world. They were sent to different maritime academies and universities worldwide for training in order to boost manpower development in the sector. That is ongoing.
“This training is a scholarship programme because this industry is critical to our survival and employment generation efforts, and to many things that we’re talking about in Nigeria. Even for our peace. So the students are being sent abroad while we’re developing our own indigenous academies,” he says.
The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach to business is also helping the Agency in its march towards developing the sector. NIMASA recently entered into a PPP agreement with a transport specialist, Global West Vessel Specialists Limited. This, he says, has enabled NIMASA to meet each of its business requirements such as safety and security. A proper PPP system will also help maximise the revenue of this dynamic enterprise. Results have been positive for the Agency.
“PPP has enabled NIMASA to meet each of its primary responsibilities; safety, security, enforcing environmental laws, etc. We have started receiving the platforms that are needed for us to implement our day-to-day operations in terms of our regulatory functions,” he says.