Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved $454,000 to be spent in providing seatime experience for Nigerian seafarers trained by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) under its National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP)
Apparently, the government has appointed a consultant; Messers SWETS MARINE to implement the project.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, made this known at the end of the second session of the virtual meeting of the FEC coordinated from the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja and headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Amaechi, the objectives of the Consultancy training services includes among others:
To build capacity of the Nigerian Youths to take over the lucrative jobs available in the maritime sector, hither to dominated by foreigners locally and to export excess Nigerian seamen to fill available spaces globally.
“To enable over 1000 idling Nigeria seafarers that have graduated but yet to obtain requisite certificate of competency required of them, so as to be gainfully employed as officers and masters on board ships.
“There is currently global scarcity of sea-time training spaces on-board merchant ship, thereby making it imperative for NIMASA to take advantage of the opportunity to build requisite capacity.
“The need to further reduce unemployment rate in the country and the fact that Messr SWETS MARINE have given guarantee of adequate spaces to absorb 170 cadets, in addition to guaranteeing job placement on-board Chevron vessels for all cadets that would excel during the training”.
Hope Rises For Nigeria’s Underutilised Eastern Seaports
Prospects of revival of the country’s eastern seaports heightened last Thursday at the occasion of the inauguration of the new Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Describing them as underutilised, the Chairman of the new Board, Akin Ricketts, lamented over their state, while noting that such a situation had far-reaching impact on the country’s economy, as it was responsible for the congestion which has crippled business at the western ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island; all in Lagos.
Ricketts then pledged that his new board would strive to resolve the situation by improving the conditions of the eastern ports. The eastern ports comprise Port Harcourt and Onne (Rivers State), Delta in Warri (Delta State) and Calabar (Cross River State). As envisaged, the eastern ports are to service the eastern part of the country comprising states located east of the River Niger.
For several years, the western ports have been under a state of strangulating congestion, with roads leading to them routinely clogged by unclaimed imported vehicles and assorted cargo, which in turn delay and deny onward passage of cleared cargo to their destinations for as much as six months in some cases.
This is because of the critical importance of the seaports to a Nigerian economy with preponderant dependence on imports of consumer goods, as well as industrial raw materials and equipment.
Incidentally, the problematic state of the country’s ports is not new, while the causative factors are also not far-fetched. For instance, one of the reported age-long problems of the eastern ports is that of narrow and shallow channels connecting them to the ocean, with associated high cost of dredging, as well as clearing such waterways.
Other issues that have made them less attractive to port users include the differential in freight charges when compared to western ports, and the deplorable state of infrastructure in them. Yet another is the challenge of security for maritime operations in the eastern zone.
Presently, many ship owners and operators in the eastern zone rent private vessels which are manned by armed naval personnel to escort their vessels of interest into and out of Nigerian waters. And this is usually at significant cost to the vehicle operators. Little wonder that over 60 per cent of cargo coming to Nigeria end up in the western ports, even when the importers may not be from that zone.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that as apparent responses to the challenges of these eastern ports, the NPA in 2018 announced that it planned to invest N1bn to tackle the problem of reviving the eastern ports. Also, in 2019, the NPA announced a reduction of 10 per cent in port operational charges for use of the eastern ports by categories of ships, namely those with 250 of 20-foot equivalent containers, general cargo of 16,000 metric tonnes, combo vessels of 16,000 metric tonnes, as well as roll-on roll-off vessels with 250 units of vehicles.
It would seem that such measures are yet to sway the port users to step up significantly their use of these eastern ports as the affected ports still lack the operational ambience and infrastructure for trouble-free patronage by port users.
Many observers attribute the current problems of the country’s port system to the 2006 measures by the Federal Government to concession the ports and the attendant withdrawal of 30 per cennt incentive granted to vehicle owners who use the eastern ports under their control by government.
However, while the concession was to attract better business for the ports (including the eastern ports), the reverse was the case.
Hence while the concern of the chairman of the new NPA board remains valid, the onus still lies on the management of the agency to bring the eastern ports into full operational status.
Source: Daily Trust
Gov Emmanuel Commends Buhari On Ibom Deep Seaport Project
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has applauded President Mohammad Buhari determination to fast track the actualisation of Ibom Deep Seaport, IDSP.
The governor also thanked the Federal Ministry of Transportation and all relevant federal regulatory agencies including the NPA, ICRC and others for working tirelessly with Akwa Ibom state government to actualise a vision that will transform the economic fortunes of the entire country.
He poured encomiums on the Technical Committee on Realisation of Ibom Deep Seaport for its dedication and high sense of patriotism displayed in pursuing the project.
These commendations came on the heels of an announcement that the Federal Government is set to move to the next level of the procurement process of the Ibom Deep Port project.
Emmanuel, who speake through the state’s Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Akan Okon said, “The government and people of Akwa Ibom State are very happy with this development and we must appreciate President Mohammad Bihari for his visionary leadership and thank the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and all relevant regulatory agencies who diligently and tiredlessly with our state government and contributed to the success so far recorded.”
“This certification is a clear evidence that Federal Government appreciates the extensive benefits Ibom Deep Seaport will attract to the country in terms of expansive business and employment opportunities.”
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