Stakeholders under the aegis of Women in Maritime Africa (WIMA), have called for reduction in cost of doing business at the nation’s seaports from the minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola.
Speaking to journalists over the weekend, during a press conference themed, ‘The Marine & Blue Economy ministry-A call for heedfulness,’ chairman of WIMA, Rollen Macfoy, said barge owners were subjected to multiple registrations with different agencies.
She, however, decried difficulties in registering vessels and barges in the country and urged the minister to ensure Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), in the marítime industry.
According to her, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), among others, register barge operators.
Macfoy added that multiple registrations would affect the cost of doing business, which would finally be transferred to the common man in the street.
She said, “The agenda we have for the new minister is so numerous but let me mention a few; one is the ease of doing business. It is the A-Z of any economy. In a situation where it is so difficult to register barges, it is so difficult to register barges up till the last time I checked, barge owners register with the NSC, NIMASA, and NIWA, and all these things are money.
“Why can’t we register with one agency and then avail other agencies the copy of the registration copies, this will enable the operators to have a soft landing. With all these multiple registrations, the end users bear it all because of all the cost we pay them.”
Macfoy also urged the minister to look at the issue of remuneration for Nigerian seafarers with the view of ensuring that it meets global standards.
On the issue of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, she said, “But if you ask me, as a person, I don’t advocate for that money to be shared, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, do not have any practising vessels, School of Oceanography has no practising vessel, children come out of school, we cannot take them because they do not have any experience.
“No place to even do cadetship. We used to have a national shipping line in those days that was absorbing these children.”