The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is committed to the domestication of her capacity development programme in order to save Nigeria’s scarce foreign exchange required to train young Nigerians abroad.
While receiving the management team of Greg Ogbeifun Institute of Maritime Technology (GOMIT) on Wednesday, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh said that NIMASA is working on adopting a reciprocity policy for recognition of Certificate of Competency and other certificates to facilitate international trade.
The visiting team came with their partners from the Training Centre for Blue Collar Port Workers in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium; and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.
The NIMASA boss urged the management of the institute to enter into Memorandum of Understanding with reputable international learning Institutes to ensure that the quality of education meets internationally acceptable standards, adding that as a new maritime institute, the gaps identified by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in the latest IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) report should be given priority and addressed.
“NIMASA has recognised the vast improvement in quality of maritime training in the country and we are looking inwards in our quest to develop human capacity for the Nigerian maritime industry. We are providing the required regulations to ensure that certificates earned from institutes in Nigeria are recognised globally. When we are satisfied that all requirements have been met, we will then adopt the reciprocity rule in recognition of certificates. NIMASA will not recognise the certificates issued by maritime administrations of non-friendly nations whose decision not to recognise certificates issued in Nigeria are unjustifiable”, he said.
The NIMASA DG also acknowledged the increase in the number of maritime training institutions in the country describing it as a welcome development. According to him, “studies have established over 600,000 human capacity skill gap in the maritime sector. The need for more seafarers and dockworkers in Nigeria is obvious. Training and retraining of manpower is required for a virile maritime industry. We will do everything necessary in terms of regulations to ensure our training facilities meet international standards”.
Jamoh disclosed that the Agency had secured approval of fiscal incentive of zero percent import duty on brand new vessels, adding that NIMASA is working on monetary incentive such as the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund which, he said, NIMASA awaits further directives from the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Greg Ogbeifun Institute of Maritime Technology, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun said the Institute is committed to collaborating with existing ones. He commended the NIMASA management under Jamoh’s leadership for championing the quest to secure both fiscal and monetary incentives for stakeholders in the maritime industry.
“We at GOMIT are committed to attaining internationally acceptable standards in training dockworkers. Government should provide us with the enabling environment to achieve our goal. We will identify a training need assessment for pool workers. We consider certification as a key component of the training loop”, Ogbeifun said.
Representatives from the Port of Antwerp and officials of the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen where GOMIT is located were also present at the meeting.