The Nigerian Ship Registry Reform Implementation Monitoring Committee has said that it will soon meet with the new Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh on the way forward for its assignment.
The Chairman of the committee, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori who disclosed this in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos recently on the fate of the committee especially with the change of guard at NIMASA, said that it was not for the committee to determine its fate.
In his words,” With respect to the fate of the committee, it is not the prerogative of the committee to determine the fate of that work. The fact that the new DG was part of the former top management of NIMASA and we believe he is a progressive person and the fact that the reform of the ship registry being identified as one of the cardinal points that they need to address, yes and we will be having meeting with him.
“He has only been appointed less than two weeks ago. So, we will be meeting with him on the way forward, we are only implementation monitoring committee, we will be having meeting with him very soon so that we continue where we are.”
Ilori however recalled that there was a ship registry meeting held with stakeholders about six weeks ago during which NIMASA was able to share with stakeholders the situation so far.
According to him, “Don’t forget that the report is government report and then we shared with the stakeholders some of the contents and where we are. I think there was two major issues; one, we are the implementation monitoring committee and then we are determined that we will deliver on our mandate, that way; we will be able to monitor the process of the implementation and the effectiveness of the implementation.
“And NIMASA on their part has been living up to their words. There is low hanging foot but high on that is the issue of some of the systemic challenges. NIMASA on their side has been taking steps to address the internal challenges. These are huge but then, they have begun to take action to address those challenges in terms of reorganization, in terms of office space. Some of the requirements for the equipment of the working environment, more importantly is the systemic challenges because we identified there are systemic challenges both on the part of NIMASA and on the part of the ship owners or those who use the service and the need to face this head on was identified and NIMASA identified that they are not unwilling to face these challenges.
“The issue of fraudulent flag registry certificate is something that we identified and they have taken that up, they have redesigned the flag registry to make sure that they improve the security features of the certificate so that Nigerian certificate will gain credibility globally so that when they see the certificate, at least, they will know that it is genuine. That is a credit for NIMASA and it is part of saying that we need to begin to introduce some elements of integrity into the process. We believe that is a good thing because fraud is endemic within the sector and we need to stamp that out before we can say we begin to have a credible registry.
“There are other issues that will require legislative intervention and that we believe that they have agreed to look into that vis-à-vis having a second registry.”
While stating that there was no way Nigeria could run an open and closed registry at the same time, he however recommended the adoption of the Norwegian model which he said was a hybrid registry saying “don’t forget it has to go through legislative process and then legislators would have to debate it but it is something that we need to put before the legislators and then, hopefully, we see what become of it.”
He continued, “At the end of the day, what is important is the overall interest of the nation and to make sure that we are able to attract the right tonnage to the registry because we need to have a quality tonnage on the registry, the tonnage that contributes to economic development of the nation, that creates jobs and gives us the integrity, the credibility that makes us totally acceptable and then give us financial consideration that is, most especially war, financial credibility and financial confidence because we need to have investors’ confidence in our registry before they can advance funding to our registry.
“So, these are some of the issues that will be considered when we decide to go into that direction. There is nothing wrong with the closed registry that we have particularly given the ability to call on ships in terms of emergency. That is one of the factors that was considered why the closed registry is important because flag nation can call on her flagged vessels in times of emergency.”
Photo: Chairman, Implementation Monitoring Committee on Ship Registry Reform, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori.
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