Following the approval of the board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on 26th August, 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, and its subsequent inauguration by the Hon Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the board hit the ground running with the enunciation of top-notch policies and programmes aimed at revolutionizing the agency.
It leaves much to be deserved when competence is evaluated and judged based on self-seeking variables that defeat the objective and benefit of the general good. From inception, NIMASA had been on the self-inflicted journey of uncoordinated policies that dovetailed into high level of profligacy. Times were when the Agency was a brazen cash cow for obviously non-sustainable programmes and skewed policies.
The new leadership in NIMASA has brought a lot to the table. This is evident in the several commendable strides so far recorded by the less-than two-year old leadership of the Agency.
As a service and consumer-based establishment, NIMASA is open to varied constituents. Expectedly, everything new attracts reactions that are reflective of group/personal interest and perception. There are people and or groups within and around the establishment that would account as early adopters. These are those who embrace the change that has come about. They are described as smart, innovative and engaging. The early adopters are open-minded and lookout for new opportunities to enhance productivity and, by extension, satisfaction.
At the other extreme are the laggards. They are averse to change; scared of venturing into the deep seas of glowing opportunities. They prefer the old order. Fear and suspicion reign in their minds and actions. It was with this pervading air of skepticism that the laggards greeted the cutting-edge innovations the new leadership brought to the table. To them, the rebranding of NIMASA was a jamboree. The Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has, however assured that “We are progressing with the actualization of a NIMASA that fulfils the wonderful imagery of a global brand. The rebranding of the Agency is work in progress with attendant training of staff at all levels. The new logo is a symbol of paradigm shift and a pointer to a new direction for the maritime industry.”On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that “We are reforming NIMASA so that it can play its expected role as a facilitator of economic prosperity. The rebranding is part of Federal Government’s effort to enhance economic diversification and repositioning of the maritime sector as the country’s highest revenue earner in the very near future”.
One of the standpoints of the current NIMASA leadership was the successful hosting of the 3rd Conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrators, with the long-term aim of drawing a roadmap for the sustainable work plan of the association. Recall that Nigeria failed to host the event in 2014, due mainly to the Ebola scourge at that time and may not be unconnected to some debilitating leadership and financial misadventures. As a stamp of the African continent approval of the competence of the leadership of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside was elected Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA). President Muhammadu Buhari, in his congratulatory message to Dr.Dakuku Peterside, has this to say, “Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and an affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) towards safer global maritime activities.” This is competence walking on two legs.
As though the president’s commendation on his election was not enough, the Dakuku Peterside-led NIMASA was highly rated by the federal government and stakeholders for the high revenue contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). Within a period of one year and one month, NIMASA remitted a total of N21.805 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, “The management of NIMASA was able to generate more money by half year that it did in the two preceding years.” The sharp disparity in remittances compared to previous years, thus necessitated the government’s probe of previous leaderships of NIMASA. The Honorable Minister of Finance did not mince words in recommending the NIMASA financial model to other Agencies of government. The automation of all its processes has reduced to a large extent, human interface thereby increase revenue generation.
One obvious lesson we can take away from this is that at this season when revenue-yielding agencies and parastatals are finding it difficult to be self-sustaining, it is only the result of NIMASA’s leadership ability to buy into President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision that has recorded this plus. Ability to buy into another’s vision is, in itself, a leadership trait that is not strewn on the streets of incompetence.
Convinced that capacity building remains the mortar that binds the blocks for sustainability of the NIMASA brand, the leadership has left no stone unturned in ensuring that it constantly oils the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP). Worthy of mentioning here is that the Dakuku led Management in NIMASA has found the missing part of the NSDP project which is sea time training to ensure the products of the project are employable across the world. So far the NSDP initiative has produced 243 graduates, 1,600 cadets at various stages of completion of the programme out of which 887 are ready for sea-time training.
150 Cadets under the scheme are bound for Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Marine Transportation in Alexandria, Egypt to commence their mandatory sea-time training, 89 others are bound for the South Tyneside College, United Kingdom for their on-board sea-time training, making it a total of 239 in the first phase of the programme. The problem of sea time which is a global challenge was a no go area for past administrations until Dr Dakuku took over the mantle of leadership of the Agency. This is in addition to various internal and external trainings of all cadre of staff of the Agency.
Conscious of its primary role of checking sea piracy and other related crimes on our national waterways, NIMASA leadership has built strong inter-agency relationship that would see to the success of this role. The synergy between the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army, the Marine Police and other paramilitary agencies has been rated highly. The Defence Research and Development Bureau is also working in tandem with NIMASA in providing the necessary research knowhow to develop indigenous capacity.
The prestigious Public Organisation of the Year 2016 Award on NIMASA by Tell Magazine therefore, did not come as a surprise. It was a product of visionary leadership anchored on commitment to the delivery of core values of the Agency. It was a testimonial of untainted competence of the leadership of NIMASA. It speaks of a team versed in the orchestrated landmines on it path, yet with a torch of professionalism, went about detonating them all. Though, still work in progress, more would be achieved if all stakeholders meaningfully put their hands on the plow and resist the temptation of looking back.
– Shekari writes in from Lagos
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