BLUE ECONOMY: Asu Beks Advocates Exemption of NIMASA, Shippers Council, NPA, Others from FG’s 50% IGR Deductions

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L-R: Elder Asu Beks, President Bola Tinubu and Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola

By DAPO OLAWUNI

Veteran maritime journalist and Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Limited, Elder Asu Beks has called on the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola to push for the exemption of agencies under his Ministry from the 50% deductions of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); a policy recently introduced by the Federal Government.

While speaking on a live television programme; “Focus Nigeria” on Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Wednesday, Elder Asu Beks urged Oyetola to take a cue from the Minister of the FCT, Nyesome Wike who recently removed his Ministry from the Treasury Single Account (TSA)

The septuagenarian argued, that the maritime sector is critical to the survival of the nation’s economy, hence, agencies under the sector should be given special considerations and status.

“We must commend President Tinubu for being the first president to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Econom, even though he brought politicians to run the Ministry.

“This is the sector that can sustain this country, but stakeholders are yet to see the impact of this Blue Economy.

“To get the Blue Economy Ministry working, the first eleven of the Ministry must be empowered to work, talking about NIMASA, NPA, NIWA, MAN Oron, Shippers Council, and so on.

“On remittance of operating supplsses, I am holding the Minister responsible. Look at what the Minister of FCT did, Nyesome Wike, he sought and got an approval from Mr President to get FCT out of TSA.

“How do you run the port with 50%?
There are lots of project that needs funds, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy must do what his counterpart at FCT has done, he should get these agencies out of the TSA, using his closeness to the President, this is doable”

Elder Asu Beks also noted that already, there is an existing 7-days Ultimatum from Maritime Workers Union and the NPA senior staff to shutdown the ports if the government refuses to reverse the policy.

“Our ports run on diesel, and in other climes it is not so. I led a team of maritime journalists to Saint Thomas University in Miami Florida sometimes ago, and in the course of that programme, we visited the ports and discovered that the ports are run by the county.

“Why can’t we say Apapa Local Government should run the Apapa and Tin Can Ports or even the Lagos Government, so the Federal Government have no right holding tight to these funds” he said

Speaking further, Elder Asu Beks said that professionals and experienced hands from the maritime industry should be made to run the affairs of the agencies under the Blue Economy Ministry.

“In NNPC today, you hardly see an outsider calling the shots, and so, in a sector such as the maritime sector, we need experts. NPA, NIMASA, NIWA in the past eight years, quality men and women who have been trained with government money have all retired.

“We have a lot of experienced hands in the maritime sector, both public and private, who can help shape the future of the sector.

“However, what we are seeing now is a situation whereby political exigencies comes before professionalism.

“We are talking about a sector that has over $24trillion in asset, annually the sector can generate $1.5trillion” he said

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