By RICHARDS ADENIYI
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) may soon be on the war path with the International Oil Companies (IOCs), as NIMASA Director General (DG) has declared an intention to implement the Cabotage law to the letter, including local players’ requisite capacity development.
The Director General, Dakuku Peterside gave indication to this while engaging the representatives of the IOCs in Lagos, stressing that the agency under his Management, would no longer be interested in pursuing waivers, at the expense of indigenous shipping development.
“The spirit of the Cabotage Act is not to generate revenue in terms of waivers, but to build the requisite capacity for indigenous players which will in the long run, generate wealth and create employment for Nigeria’s teeming population”, he warned.
Stressing that the Agency would no longer tolerate the usual IOCs usually gleeful disregard for Cabotage and environmental laws in Nigeria, Dr Peterside said he would nonetheless work on all the ways of fostering a closer synergy with them, in the overall interest of the nation’s economic development, and urged the IOCs to be mindful of all existing laws and regulations in the discharge of their duties, because applicable sanctions would be meted out to erring companies.
“We will not fold our arms and watch, while you (IOCS) do damage to our environment because environmental pollution is life threatening”, the DG noted further, pointing out that the era of some of the IOCs carrying out their businesses in violation of Nigeria’s laws, especially as regards Cabotage and the environment is over.
He highlighted the Agency’s areas of interest to NIMASA to be specifically on the flouting of Cabotage law, negative impact to the environment from oil exploration activities, none payment of statutory levies due to the government and inadequate information sharing.
He emphasized that a situation where the IOCs engage foreign vessels to do jobs that Nigerian operators have adequate capacity and equipment, would no longer be tolerated, as this has been a major bane in the development of Nigeria’s shipping industry.
Dr. Peterside commended the IOCs for their compliance level on the payment of statutory levies so far, noting that the argument on the payment of Cabotage levies on Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSOs) facilities and other offshore platforms is unnecessary.
In his words,” whether you are into shipping or shipping related business, NIMASA has a role to play in ensuring that the business is done seamlessly without security risk and not at the detriment of the Nigerian state.