By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced that it is delving into the business of water transportation, following the suffering of it’s staff in navigating the Apapa traffic gridlock on daily basis.
To this end, the agency said it has imported four ferry boats with 5-seater capacity to commence it’s transportation business.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh disclosed this at the University of Lagos Institute of Maritime Studies’ maiden Annual Lecture held in Lagos last week.
The lecture has the theme: ”From Crude to Blue – Nigeria’s Blue Economy: The Imperative of Maritime Domain Awareness and Good Governance”.
According to Dr Jamoh, the four newly purchased ferry boats would be arriving Nigeria before the end of April 2023 and they would be commissioned by the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo.
Speaking during his lecture, Dr Jamoh said “The agency looked at its sufferings around Apapa axis, we decided to import four ferry vessels for our own staff that is 5-seater.
“Ladies and gentlemen, these vessels would soon arrive Nigeria, and before the end of this month, we shall invite the Honorable Minister of Transportation to commission it, for the first time as an agency, we are involving in transportation” he stated
According to him, part of the areas of the blue economy that should be invested in and which would help the Nigerian economy are; marine transportation, fisheries, aquaculture, renewal energy, tourism, climate change, waste management, port development and logistics, shipping and others.
He listed some of the assets the country had that would ensure the utilisation of the blue economy including 853 km coastal line, 8573 kn inland waterways, six-port complexes and 21 oil terminals.
It also includes more than 10 jetties, 200 nautical miles of exclusive zones, 200 million population; all consumers, and others.
Dr Jamoh also recalled the fiscal incentives which the agency secured for Nigerian shipowners in order to further development the shipping sector.
“Shipping is capital intensive, if you want to buy a ship, sometimes it may cost you about USD50million on an average, and you are asked to pay a 15% duty, but that duty is enough for you to buy a Cabotage Vessel that you can move around within the supply chain.
“The shipowners have to choice than pay these duties, but in less than one year, we got an approval for fiscal incentives whereby if you import a brand new ship, you would pay zero duty, we were trying to discourage rust buckets into our waterways, so the older vessel you buy, the higher duty you pay.
“The next thing we looked at was infrastructures, we had to develop infrastructures and this includes the ship itself and the maritime transportation”
“The infrastructure also have human elements, we introduced six maritime training Institutions into six geo political zones. In southwest we selected Unilag, in Southeast we selected Nnsuka, and Anambra. In the south-south, we built a whole maritime university called Okerenkoko and we empowered the Niger Delta University.
“In the northwest, we developed Kaduna State University, today, a number of structures, in the North Central, we developed maritime institutions in IBB Lapai University, and in the North East” he said