By Omotilewa Quadri
The Nigerian Navy will access one percent of the fund accruing to the maritime sector as part of efforts to address some of its funding challenges.
This is contained in the amendment to the Maritime Operations Coordinating Board, an aspect of the Act establishing the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The amendment was done by the House of Representatives after the adoption of the report of its Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration.
The amendment provides for the reconstitution of the maritime coordinating board to include the Nigerian Navy as a member, which would allow it access the one percent of funds accruing to NIMASA.
Summarizing the contents of the report before its adoption, Chairman of the Committee, Rep Mohammed Umar Bago (APC, Niger) said the one percent fund would enhance Navy’s capacity to monitor and police Nigeria’s maritime sector and protect its integrity.
He said relevant stakeholders observed that Navy’s budgetary allocations were becoming inadequate hence the need to look for other sources of funding for its operations.
Also, Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Rep Abdussamad Dasuki (APC, Sokoto) said the amendment was a sign of the commitment of the House, especially the two committees, to ensure better funding for the Nigerian Navy.
He said over the years, Navy has suffered poor funding, saying out of the over N26 billion allocated for the Navy’s capital projects in 2017, only about N15 billion was released.
“For overhead, over N4 billion was appropriated and N2.3 billion was released. This is unacceptable. For instance, seven patrol vessels on 24 hours surveillance for 30 days will consume diesel worth N1 billion,” he said.
He added that men of the Nigerian Navy sacrifice their lives to ensure the safety of the country’s “exclusive economic zone, the overall maritime domain, and we are here giving them inadequate equipment; that is very unfair to the nation itself. But now they can procure equipment and manage their ships better.”
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