…Urges NIMASA To Create Sanity At Lagos Harbour
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Nigerian shipowners have called on the Federal Government to extend its Survival Fund to maritime sector to enable shipowners sustain their ailing businesses. The Survival Fund is a component of Nigeria’s N2.3trillion Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP.
The ESP which is being coordinated by Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo was developed with a stimulus package of N2.3 trillion to boost local production, prevent business collapse and provide liquidity across various sectors, especially micro, small and medium enterprises MSMEs.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS, a frontline shipowner and member of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Capt Deji Abegunde lamented that Nigerian shipowners are not getting any form of support from the Federal Government, rather, their business are being witchunted and victimised.
He lamented that Nigerian shipowners are finding it difficult to maintain their ships because the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has failed to create a designated space for the repairing of Nigerian ships.
At the moment, the shipowner said there was no sanity at the Lagos harbour, saying that vessels are supposed to stay at the harbour whenever they are faulty.
Capt Abegunde stated that NIMASA and the Nigerian government needs to assist Nigerian shipowners who are finding it difficult to maintain their ships”
“Ships were pieces of irons technically assembled inside harbour before becoming seaworthy. When a ship is not seaworthy, she stays inside harbour”
“No vessel is not harbour worthy, but is there sanity in Lagos harbour?
Where do you want Nigeria shipowners without money to take their vessels to?
The harbour should be organised to enable such owners to improve their vessels with peace of mind”
“The federal government survival fund should equaly be given to them. Extend kindness to shipowners rather than witch-hunting them”
Capt Abegunde was reacting to a publication by DAILY TREND NEWS on 30 vessels and wrecks littering the inland waterways of Lagos, a statement made by Dr. Kayode Farinto, Vice President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)
Dr Farinto had urged NIMASA to sell the abandoned ships and scraps, should the owners fail to come forward the remove them.
While reacting, Capt Abegunde said “Can you go and cut another man’s car or lorry because the engine is not working or the tyres are bad?
You can only tow them if it is impeding the flow of traffic”
“NIMASA should therefore designate some enough space for repairing Nigerian ships.
It is not a crime for Nigerians to own ships. They deserve better treatment”
“If Farinto has ever invested his money on a simple speed boat with a single 45 horse power outboard engine, he will know the pains an average Nigerian shipowners are facing in keeping their vessels afloat in the faces of no jobs and keeping vessel compliance with regulations” he said