SOAN reels out achievements, set to elect new executive Tuesday


…To build SOAN Centre

The Shipowners’ Association of Nigeria (SOAN) will on Tuesday elect a new executive to pilot the affairs of the association for the next two years in the first ever election to be so conducted by the association.

The President of the Association, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun who disclosed this in a press conference held in Lagos Friday stated that the exercise which would come up on Tuesday, the 7th of March, 2017 would see to the election of a new President, Vice President and Financial Secretary/Treasurer.

Ogbeifun pointed out that the association had established four sub-committees which would take care of the various aspects of the association’s activities naming the committees to include the Technical Committee, Training and Capacity Building Committee, Ethics and Privileges Committee and the Finance and Membership Committee.

He added that each of the committees would be headed by a Chairman who would be democratically elected on the election day and that those four Chairmen to be elected would also be members of the executive council.

According to him, “This election will be the first election of the association and it is very important to us. Only yesterday, I met with the Director-General of NIMASA at the airport and I mentioned to him about our election and our intention to have him inaugurate our new excos on the 30th of March, 2017 when the inauguration of the new excos is expected to take place and he is positively disposed to that request”.

He recalled that the association which was formerly inaugurated in April 2015 had grown and had also achieved quite a few things in the industry thereby becoming a voice of the shipping industry in the country.

The SOAN boss noted that they had been able to consolidated membership adding that the membership of the association was strictly ship owners with proven track records even as he observed that one would always have a few number of real ship owners in any nation if the head count of the ship owners were to be taken and so was the case with SOAN.

“SOAN set out not to have a large crowd of people but to have a critical mass that truly represents ship owning business in the country. Today, the number has grown to about 30, membership is very strict, we go through extensive due diligence to ensure that the intending member meets some fundamental criteria which include but not limited to asset ownership, appropriate organizational structure, industry reputation and contribution generally to the growth of our maritime industry.

“In the last two years, the association achieved some milestones both internationally and nationally. Internationally, by reason of few outings, the association today remains one of three member nations that constitute the Common Wealth Maritime Initiative. The President of the association today, remains a member of advisory board of the Common Wealth Enterprise and Investment Council. Our affiliation with the Common Wealth has led to our nation being invited to London to showcase the investment opportunities that are available in the Nigerian Maritime industry. The delegation was led by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport who represented the Minister in London and the outcome of that led to a relationship that is now developing between the Maltese Government and the Nigerian maritime sector. By reason of the association’s initiative, the President was invited to be a discussant and speaker at the first Maltese Government Maritime Conference which took place in October, 2016.

“At home, we have been able to establish that SOAN is not at variance or in opposition to the existence of other similar associations and to be specific, the Nigerian Shipowners’ Association whose existence we acknowledge and we respect and by the initiative of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, the all two being SOAN members and NISA have come together under an umbrella called the Ship Owners’ Forum so that industry can have one voice.

“We have been able to develop our activities to the extent that at the End of the Year Gala event which we had last November, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation courtesy of the Group Managing Director, the respected Dr. Maikanti Baru invited SOAN to a meeting to see how we can crystalize and develop a Nigerian Crude Tanker Fleet. Discussions are ongoing in that respect. Also, SOAN made a presentation of this initiative to the Ministerial Committee for the Nigerian Fleet implementation headed by Mr. Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council. The Committee wrote a very nice letter to SOAN acknowledging our efforts in this direction of trying to establish the Nigerian Crude Tanker Fleet working with NNPC.

“The International Oil Companies have also in recognition of the efforts of SOAN, has committed to assist us in training our vessel Masters and Chief Officers at their expense to ensure that our service delivery is up to the standard they expect.

“A very important agency in the country, NIMASA also has acknowledged the efforts of SOAN and recently communicated to us their desire to pay a courtesy visit to SOAN and this should be on the day of our election, NIMASA will be having a brief courtesy call on us and we shall have an opportunity to rob minds with them about our business activities.

“We have also been contacted by the Management of the Nigerdock for the purpose of visiting us and sharing ideas with us on how they will support our members particularly in the areas of dry docking of our vessels. So, again, on the day of the election, the General Manager of NigerDock, Mr. Ian Hugo will be visiting us to make a short presentation to us.

“Our 100 deck Cadetship Scheme is ongoing. As you are aware, there is a downturn in the industry which had reduced the activity level of our members, that notwithstanding, our members are determined to continue to drive the 100 Deck opportunity. We have been contacted by various establishments for the purpose of working with us on the issue of the 100 Deck.

“At the inaugural press conference which I had, if you recall, I mentioned that under our watch with the present executive, we were going to exhibit the highest level of transparency, discipline, accountability in the management of the association’s finances. To this end, I am pleased to inform you that SOAN appointed a firm of external auditors who had completed the audit of our finances and presented our first audited account which was adopted by the general house and at the end of this month, which is the end of our financial year, they will be coming again to carry out the audit of our second year finances in the spirit of accountability which we think is very important for the association”, he said.

Ogbeifun who is also the Group Chairman of Starzs Group of Companies hinted that going forward, they anticipated and envisaged an increase in the activities of the association.

He continued,” The Lagos State Government is looking at allocating some lands to the association where we intend to develop the SOAN Centre which will comprise of an Administrative block, an event hall, a training building and a hospitality building like a small hotel. So, we are looking at a sizeable piece of land, that is going to be a major project going forward for us where we can develop over time and will be available for the entire maritime industry.

“We also going forward want to begin to look at issues of our members’ activities, to see how the association can support members to develop their businesses to the standard required by the industry. We want to look at issues that are of challenge to our members and we will collectively engage the appropriate government organ or agency to discuss with them to see how some of these issues can be addressed. We have been contacted by the COO upstream of NNPC who has indicated that he is welcomed to meet with us to also discuss issues that affect our business.

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