Success of the proposed maritime audit depends on its terms of reference –Akinsoji

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Former Administrator of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa-Ibom State, Engr. Olu Akinsoji has said that the success of the proposed performance audit of the government agencies in the Nigerian maritime sector by the Federal Ministry of Transportation will depend largely on the terms of reference given to the auditors by the Ministry.

Akinsoji who was reacting to the statement made by the Minister of Transportation at the just concluded Maritime Technical Summit organized by the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) showing intention to carry out performance audit of all the maritime agencies noted that the terms of reference must specify what the objectives of the performance audit is.

He maintained that the areas identified as weakness in the system must be part of the terms of reference for the auditors so that they would look at it and the result of the audit would provide corrective measures for weaknesses so as to enable the agencies get their strength.

“The performance audit is a fantastic idea depending on the terms of reference of the auditors for the audit. The terms of reference must specify what the objective of the performance audit is. The areas we have identified as weakness in the system must be part of the terms of reference for the auditors so that they will look at it and the result of the audit will provide corrective measures for weakness so that we can get our strength”, he said.

Akinsoji who was the Alternate Permanent Representative for IMO however regretted that the maritime sector in Nigeria had become an all comers’ affairs where everybody could do everything.

He observed that if one wants to do anything in the Nigerian maritime sector that is relevant to the growth of the sector, such a person needed to be specially trained saying that the sector was lacking technical people.

According to him,” The colonial people and our forefathers knew this in 1978 when they established the Academy as Nautical College so that we can take care of these areas of specialized trainings and they didn’t stop people from even establishing other schools to take the overflow of the need for special knowledge that is required and people were still sent to the United Kingdom for training.

“But suddenly the consciousness for specialized knowledge that thrived in the industry dwindled and we started to fall away from the important issue of human quality and training and as such we are faced with a barrage challenges and problems that we unconsciously infringe on ourselves”.

He therefore suggested that the way forward was to ensure that in policy formulation, technical people were put in place and in implementation; technical people were also put in place so that those technical people and the administration would be conscious of the technical input to matters that affect the whole nation as far as growth was concerned.

He further believed that the re-establishment of the national carrier was the solution to the drift of professionals in the maritime sector but was quick to warn that there must be a foundation in place before the national carrier is built.

“I support the idea of having national carrier, I have always said that but who is going to run it? Even if you have foreigners as major partners administering it, there must be a government agency in charge of it. It cannot be a Nigerian ship, flying Nigerian flag without any administrative input by Nigerians. It has to be registered, the registrar must be capable, the facilities that are required must be in Nigeria and there must be an agency responsible for it”, he stated.

He sued that all the capacity deficit in the sector that had not allow the country to sustain shipping business must be looked at by the government before it venture into all it would do as it concern national carrier.

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