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Nigeria needs data-driven records to establish capacity, gaps in mariners’ labour market – AMANO

...Seeks funding intervention to boost Faculty in Maritime Academy

 The Alumni of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron  (AMANO) Akwa Ibom, have raised concerns over what they described as pertinent issues demanding immediate attention to improve on the quality of maritime education for manpower development needs in the maritime industry.

Briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos, President of AMANO, Mr. Emmanuel Maiguwa, said that the body has taken its time to x-ray developments in the maritime industry with keen interest in what happens regarding maritime education and training.

He stressed the importance of having adequate records of the capacity among available mariners as well as the existing gaps, to serve as guide for industry growth in terms of manpower.

“We have observed that the country does not have records of its citizens who have acquired Class 1 licenses under the Nigerian or other foreign administration.

“The implication is that the country does not know its Capacity and Gap. Understanding our manpower capacity/Gap in specialised areas is critical to developing the Marine and Blue Economy.

“We call on the Ministry to work with NIMASA and ensure that a quality database backed by law is developed to serve as a source of policy guidance and public information tools that will aid the growth of the maritime industry,” Maiguwa said.

The AMANO president also called on the present government as well as the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to undertake special intervention funding to enable the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, engage on contract basis, more professionals for training the cadets.

This strategy, Maiguwa said, would give more meaning to the laudable efforts that the Academy was already doing to make it well attractive in maritime training.

His words: “We have recognised that despite the remarkable transformation achieved at the Maritime Academy in terms of infrastructure and training equipment, the Academy is struggling to attract the needed professionals to meet its obligations.

“One of the major challenges is the condition of civil service vis-à-vis the budget available for contract employment, which is insufficient to attract experienced mariners who are required to provide tutorship to the cadets.

“AMANO wishes to encourage the Minister to consider special intervention funding that will enable the academy to adequately match professional mariners’ compensation to that of the private sector to attract qualified professionals into the system.”

The body called on the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and NIMASA to constitute an independent committee for purposes of an audit to review existing gaps with regards to having requisite professionals as specified by the International Maritime Organisation.

“We call on the Administration and the Minister to review the gap alongside the last IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) through an independent committee that will recommend actionable steps.

“We understand that even though the agency has carried out significant employment since 2014, the employment did not bring marine professionals as required by IMO to maintain the standard required for the Nigerian Maritime Administration,”Maiguwa said.

AMANO also raised issues regarding decline in capacity vessels to support seafarers’ training for seatime. It disclosed that the few gainfully engaged vessels providing services are in the oil and gas offshore sector, thus only able to carter for very limited number of cadets for training.

It called on leadership with the political will to engage with industry practitioners to provide requisite facilities and professionals to boost maritime education and training for the purpose of creating a pool of mariners needed for sustainable manpower development for the industry.

Also present at the news briefing were Captain Olugunwa Jide, the Chairman Board of Trustees of AMANO; Captain Garba Gajere, General Secretary, and Ms Inoma Frances, the Financial Secretary.

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