The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday in Lagos said he would not approve a proposal to increase the salary of workers of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The Minister also said that he would, anytime from now, sack the Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Sam Nwakohu, and other top management staff of the council.
Amaechi, who disclosed these while delivering his keynote address at the 2021 World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos, expressed displeasure at the failure of CRFFN to fulfill its mandate. He also expressed displeasure at the inability of the council to recover government revenue through the collection of the controversial professional operating fee (POF).
He said he has received numerous petitions against the council from the various freight forwarding associations and from individual freight forwarders, making it imperative for him to take the drastic action.
“We will leave only the staff but everybody else will have to go,” the Minister said.
He said after the sack of the present management, a new team would be recruited to drive the mandate of the council.
Speaking on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Amaechi commended the Dr. Bashir Jamoh-led leadership of the agency, stating that the present management has restored the agency to the path of professionalism.
He, however, said that he would not approve a request by the NIMASA management to review staff salary, though he has “reluctantly” forwarded the proposal to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, for scrutiny.
“Recently, NIMASA brought a proposal to my table demanding an increment in their salary. I won’t approve it. I’ve said it many times that the agency is not expected to be generating revenue. What are you doing that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is not doing? There is no justification for the increment. Though, I have forwarded it to the office of the Permanent Secretary,” he said.
On the theme of the theme of the 2021 World Maritime Day, which was ‘Seafarers at the core of shipping’s future’, Amaechi said Nigeria will continue to play its part in maintaining the global sustainability value chain through partnerships with organisations that sustain and support seafarers.
He said, “The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that cadets undergo adequate sea-time training. The National Seafarers Development Program (NSDP) sponsored by NIMASA will be strengthened to intensify engagement with reputable shipping companies to achieve even higher output.
“At the moment, there are over 7,000 seafarers on the Nigerian seafarers register and we are committed to achieving more.
“We are concerned about the Seafarers Workforce Report, which warns that there could be a shortfall in officers by the year 2026. To bridge the resource gap in seafaring, there is the need to actively promote careers at sea and enhance maritime education and training to enhance the diverse skills needed for a greener and more digitally connected maritime industry.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, said the World Maritime Day is set aside annually to focus attention on the importance of shipping, safety, maritime security, and protection of the marine environment.
“It is worthy to note that the shipping industry is the most efficient mode of transportation facilitated by the efforts of seafarers without which the world’s economy would not be able to function appropriately and that is why the seafarers are our center of focus today,” she said.