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Expert wants FG to appoint professionals to run maritime industry

A maritime
practitioner, Ms Chinweoke Okpalaji, has urged the Federal Government to
appoint professionals to manage the affairs of the maritime parastatals as the
week which began on Sept. 28 ended.

Okpalaji, Head, Maritime Business
in Hyprops Nigeria Ltd, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of
Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
She noted that government had
shown remarkable interest in the maritime industry but that it should be driven
by professionals.
Okpalaji said that only people
with deep knowledge of the maritime industry would make the difference as it
was done in the oil and gas industry.
She bemoaned the absence of
representatives of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA) at the just-concluded African Maritime Conference organised by African
Ship Owners’ Association in Lagos.
Okpalaji explained that as the
apex maritime agency, NIMASA should have had a prominent presence at the event.
She said that indigenous ship
owners in the industry faced challenges while seeking for funds, especially
with banks that demanded that they have to contracts in place to qualify for
loans to acquire vessels.
During the week also, the Maritime
Workers Union of Nigeria(MWUN) said that the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) paid
N500 million for the dockworkers salaries.
President of the union, Mr Tony
Nted, said the payment covered the bills so far treated by the NPA.
Recall that the MWUN had
threatened to embark on industrial action if the dockworkers and tally clerks
were not paid their six months’ salary arrears.
Also, in the week under review,
the African Ship Owners Association decided to evolve a policy to drive the
maritime industry and address maritime domain security.
The association’s President, Mr
Temisan Omatseye, said the basic necessity was for Africa to increase its fleet
through improved trade opportunities.
He said it was important for
Africa to do cargo audit; to understand the enormous capital flight it was
suffering, and push for indigenous operations to get their businesses back.
Omatseye said this was to ensure
massive creation of jobs for African youths who had resorted to seeking better
living standards in the Western world.
Also at the conference, the AU
Coordinator for the 2050 AIM-Strategy Taskforce, Mr Samuel Kame-Domguia, urged
Africans to be committed to the AUs agenda to drive and grow Africa’s maritime
Kame-Domguia urged Africans to
work toward achieving the objectives of the Cabotage, as practitioners looked
forward to financial support from the African Development Bank (ADB).
During the week, dockworkers at
the Five Star Logistics Terminal, Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos, suspended work
following the death of one of them.
The late dockworker, Mr Pius Ifah,
died at about 1 a.m. when heavy-duty pipes rolled off from the stacking points
and killed him instantly.
The incident brought to two,
casualties recorded in the same terminal in 11 days.
NAN reports that a dockworker, Mr
Samson Oheha, died in an accident on Sept. 19.
The Maritime Workers’ Union of
Nigeria (MWUN) earlier in the week gave a 21-day ultimatum to terminal
operators to comply with safety rules or the union would go on picketing.
The union complained that some
terminal operators had failed to comply with standard safety rules at the
In the same week, the National
Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said it was set
to develop a cargo village within the proposed East–Gate Enugu Airport City
Development project.
NAGAFF said the proposed Cargo
Village would be situated within the East–Gate Enugu Airport City Development
Project adjacent to Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The proposed NAGAFF Cargo Village
would be fashioned after a similar one in Malaysia.
When completed, the proposed cargo
village will help to simplify the process of cargo clearance and help to reduce
congestion in Lagos ports.
In the week under review, NIMASA
and the Nigerian Navy agreed to collaborate to provide a safe and secured
maritime environment.
The Acting Director-General of
NIMASA, Mr Haruna Jauro stated this when he visited the Chief of the Naval
Staff, Vice Adm.
Ibok-Ete Ibas at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja.

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