The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has spent about N20billion to train 2,500 seafarers under the Nigeria Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) from 2011 to January 2015.
Speaking recently, Director General of the agency, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi said the amount the agency had spent on the cadets reached N20billion by January 2015 when the agency paid the 2015 training fees of its 2,500 cadets in various maritime institutions across the world.
Akpobolokemi said the amount included training fees, allowances, cost of laptops, books and other learning gadgets.
NSDP was initiated by NIMASA in 2009 with the aim of developing capacity and to bridging the manpower gap in the maritime industry.
NSDP is a scholarship scheme partly funded by NIMASA and State governments in the ratio of 40 percent to 60 percent.
Akpobolokemi said since the scheme started in 2011, no fewer than 74 cadets have graduated from three institutions including John Moores University Liverpool and South Tyneside College Newcastle both in the United Kingdom and Arab academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandra, Egypt.
The NIMASA boss however lamented that his agency had been solely responsible for large chunk of the payment for the training even as some State governments have not taken up their slots under the programme.
“We have been spending billions on this programme and there is no any other country that had been spending such amount to train their seafarers in the world,” he said.
He said the agency would cut down on the its foreign spending with regards to the training once the Nigerian Maritime University located in Okerenkoko, Delta State kicks off its academic session as expected this year.
“The university will provide training for seafarers, master mariners, marine engineers, naval architects and nautical scientists. NMU is envisaged to become a centre of excellence in innovative research for the maritime sector in West and Central Africa when it fully evolves,” he added.
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