NAGAFF chides NIMASA over corporate dinner, merit awards


…Says event means to retire annual budget 

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) called on the federal government to put a stop on the corporate dinner and awards organized annually by the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the premise that the event has no value addition to the industry which is in dire need of development.

It will be recalled that NIMASA last weekend in Lagos held its third edition of the annual Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards where it conferred awards on outstanding maritime industry players and staff of NIMASA. One hundred and eighty one staff of the Agency bagged long service awards for 15-30 years of service, with Mrs. Constance Omagbemi getting the coveted Employee of the Year.

GAC Shipping Company won the Overall Shipping Company of the Year, among eight awardees of the Industry Stakeholders Merit Award. They were Total Exploration and Production Company, AP Miller Terminal, Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron. Others were West African Ventures, Awaritse Nigeria Limited, and Sea Navigation International Limited.

But speaking in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos yesterday, the National President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche argued that there was no way NIMASA would continue throwing lavished party and then it would impact positively on the system especially in the maritime industry that requires time as shipping is timed added that any serious minded ship operator or shipping practitioner would not devote most of his time to merrymaking, throwing lavished party.

He said, “I am also in line with those that said that it is also a jamboree because we stand to see the benefits of those feasting. You want to do award nite, you are doing appreciation nite, some other person is kind of organizing ladies nite in the name of trying to create motivation to encourage staff to put in effort and we don’t see it as an initiative that should be supported. We have seen severally where some of the government agencies organize some of these feasts in order to retire their budget for the year. So, some of them are not meant to add value rather just to create food for the boys. So, any right thinking practitioner will not see that as an issue that should occupy most times, the time of these regulatory agencies.

“NIMASA role in the industry far exceeds the issue of organizing parties, they have the one they call breakfast meeting, this corporate award just started of recent, we have never had it like this before now, it is a recent idea generated by the fact that most of those heading the agencies are politicians. So, it is possible that they created some of these things in order to get some of their colleagues to know what they are doing, give the Minister the opportunity to reel out some of the achievements of the Ministry but there are better ways of doing it.

“All these agencies of government organizing most of these parties, are they keying into their SOPs? Are they actually impacting in the industry the way they should? NIMASA is also meant to train practitioners in the industry according to their Act but I have not seen that playing out. It was only during the administration of Akpobolokemi that some journalists were trained. Today, we lack capacity building in the industry and there is no way we can develop the maritime industry if people are not trained, if you don’t build capacity, if you don’t ensure that practitioners are trained and retrained, but today you only see agencies of government organizing parties, inviting people to come and make merry, you give awards saying that they want to encourage some other people to work hard.

“On the whole, what would one say that all these agencies have impacted in the industry? The entire maritime industry is still underdeveloped, we can’t compare Nigeria with Kenya, we can’t compare Nigeria with Ghana in terms of shipping development, we can’t compare Nigeria with Ivory Coast. The evidences are there, the logistics performance index is there, it is very clear. You look at the customs performance and all these other ones, the World Bank Ranking in terms Ease of Doing Business, though we moved from 146 to 131.

“So, these are the facts on ground that we have to encourage them, let all these government agencies re-strategize. What we needed to see them do is bring out programmes that will bring about improvements that will lead to the development of the sector not just throwing lavished parties.”

On what he thought should be done as regards the event, he retorted, “To me, government should have a second look at it, let us dissect and really look the intendment. Is it meant to bring improvement, to add value? Or is it just a lavished party because if they tell the amount that they lavish on such party, you will marvel. It is enough for them to carryout Corporate Social Responsibility. In NAGAFF, we have an academy here, we have our Radio programme, we have been writing some of these people, they are not helping us but they will be busy throwing lavished party which doesn’t have any impact on the industry.

“If they buy learning aids and they provide some of these computers to maritime students, it will impact more than when they are throwing lavished parties and people will just come and waste the money. Government should review what is going on; it is not every day that we hear of one party after another. Tomorrow you are inviting the whole world to come to Nigeria to feast with their Nigerian counterparts here and when they are leaving, there is no impact here, nothing comes out of it.”

Photo: NAGAFF National President, Chief Increase Uche.

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