THE Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has raised an alarm that the agency is cash-strapped and is struggling to pay salaries of its staff.
Peterside stated this recently during his maiden press briefing in Apapa, Lagos.
The DG also disclosed that the agency is over staffed and that his administration has no intention of recruiting new staff. He also assured that the agency would not lay off staff despite the excessive staff strength and its dwindling revenue.
He attributed the result of all these to the economic downturn confronting the country with the low cargo throughput which has affected agency’s financial status.
He expressed optimism that the new foreign exchange policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would impact positively on the finances of the agency, adding that it had been struggling to pay staff salaries.
Peterside said, “NIMASA is almost down and out. We are only managing to pay salaries through our ingenuity. It is not business as usual.“The bad image the agency presently has in the eye of the Nigerian public in the last couple of years, the global economic downturn and the seeming lack of focus on the part of the staff of the agency make the task before my management team to be challenging,” he stated.
Peterside also unveiled the agency’s “Medium Term Strategic Growth Plan” for the maritime industry. He said that the Medium Term Strategic Growth Plan covering three years is built around his core mission at NIMASA which is to reform, restructure and reposition the agency for sustainable growth and development of the maritime industry.
The strategy document, according to him, is built on five pillars including survey, inspection and certification transformation programme; environment, security and search and rescue transformation programme as well as capacity building and promotional initiatives which entail growing indigenous tonnage, ship building and human capacity.
Others are digital transformation strategy and structural and cultural reforms including changes to work ethics and attitude of staff as well as processes and procedures.
According to Peterside, one of the ways to shore up the agency’s income to actualise the medium term is to block revenue leakages through the full automation of systems and processes to eliminate human contact and increase efficiency.
Peterside affirmed his commitment to providing seatime training to cadets of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme and the judicious application of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to assist local operators to re-fleet and increase the nation’s tonnage.
He said in the short term, the strategic plan of the agency aims to achieve full automation by the end of 2016, achieve 100% efficiency and effectiveness in processes within the same period and complete its rebranding process by the end of the first quarter of 2017.
He promised that under his watch, NIMASA would be run efficiently and transparently saying that the maritime media and maritime stakeholders in general should judge his performance by the achievement of the medium term strategic growth plan.