From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
The Federal Government has commended the various trade facilitation and administrative improvements initiated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which have helped the nation move up 39 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index.
Speaking at the NIMASA Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards in Lagos over the weekend, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said that having moved from 170 since the inauguration of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in 2016 to 131 in 2019, Nigeria now targets a first 70 ranking by 2023.
According to him, “in our bid to improve efficiency and productivity in the industry and country, the council was created to ensure an enabling environment for port efficiency.”
Stressing the need to recognise and appreciate the NIMASA staff and other industry stakeholders for the agency’s progress so far, he insisted that much still needed to be done. However, “government will continue to support the maritime sector because on it rests opportunities for wealth creation and economic growth.”
Earlier, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that since inception three years ago, the yearly staff awards has improved the agency’s image and perception, and that its achievements were only made possible by a dedicated staff.
He listed some achievements as the introduction of final billing system, which has crashed vessels’ bill clearance time from two to 10 years to 14 days, thereby improving vessel turnaround time, reducing dwell time and incidental demurrage, as well as recovering more revenue for the government.
Others included improved ship registry, increased ship tonnage, and the annual maritime forecast, all of which the agency disclosed accounted for the N16 billion it contributed to the nation’s consolidated revenue account as at October 2019.
Commending the long service awardees and maritime stakeholders, whose robust support he said was a source of strength for the agency, Peterside said that NIMASA was not under any illusion that all was already well, as more work still needed to be done to consolidate the modest achievements made so far.
Meanwhile, a terminal operator based in the Apapa Port, APMT, has emerged the Most Compliant ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) Onshore Facility 2019.
The Best Terminal/Jettty Operator was Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TCIC), for maintaining “the highest level of operational excellence in its cargo handling, effective automation systems and compliance with all HSE regulations, in line with extant regulations governing their practice.”
The other winners were: Total E&P (Most Compliant ISPS Offshore Facility), GAC Shipping Company (Overall Shipping Company), Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron (Best Maritime Training Institution), West African Ventures (Best Shipping Company – Marine Environment Management), Awaritse Nig. Ltd (Best Cabotage Operator), and Sea Navigation Int’l Ltd (Company with Largest Combined Tonnage).