The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that only deliberate policy of developing the much needed human capital development will help in achieving the overall purposes of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 and the Nigerian Content Act, 2010.
The National Assembly had in 2003 passed the Cabotage Act, which restricts the to fully indigenous companies to enhance their participation in the lifting of goods under the scheme while the Local Content was passed in 2010 to enhance indigenous participation in the oil and gasactivities.
Director General of the agency, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who spoke at the ongoing capacity building training for maritime journalists at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, noted that the development of a corps of maritime professionals for the industry cannot be over-emphasised.
According to him, with the Cabotage and Local Content policies in force, Nigeria will be able to takeover critical aspects of the shipping and logistic trade in the country only if she has the right human resource. He noted that this will also ensure that capital flight associated with the foreign domination of the industry was checked.
It was in line with this realisation that the agency took concrete steps towards the development of human capital needed to address these deficiencies in the industry. For instance, the agency established institutes of maritime studies in four Nigerian universities comprising of University of Lagos, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Niger Delta University, Amasoma in Bayelsa State and the Ibrahim Babaginda University, Lapai in Niger State. It was also gathered that the agency is currently building a science and technical college in Okoloba, Delta State to serve as a demonstration school maritime universities.
The NIMASA-boss noted that the main objective of setting these maritime institutes was to contribute to the production of high quality future global maritime leaders through quality maritime education, training and research. He also said: “These institutes will create opportunities for mutual exchange of knowledge and best practices with stakeholders to address the yawning capacity gap in the maritime industry”.
In addition to all these, the agency is currently prosecuting its Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) in line with its human capacity building initiatives aimed at bridging the gap occasioned by the dearth of seafarers in the country. This follows the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL, which made the training and re-training of seafarers a major challenge. Akpobolokemi, who decried the dearth of seafarers in Nigeria, said that the youngest seafarer in Nigeria is over 65 years as against the 35 years recommended by the International Maritime Organisation, IMO.
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.