By Isaac Anumihe
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has begun the process of fixing the gaps in Nigeria’s National Transport Policy (NTP).
In a three-day workshop geared towards the articulation and formulation of a National Maritime Transport Policy, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, said that the NTP does not capture the whole realities of the nation’s maritime sector.
“We need to have a common vision, a common dream, and a common guiding document. All these are currently lacking in our body of policies. We have a National Transport Policy (NTP), which captures the idea and roles of land transportation, pipeline as mode of transportation, rail, water and air transportation.
“But we don’t have a standalone document on maritime transportation. With this, the current NTP cannot be all encompassing on the realities in Nigeria’s maritime transport sub-sector. So we have identified that there is a gap and sought help from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“IMO sent us professionals from the World Maritime University (WMU) to guide us on the process of articulation and formulation of a National Maritime Transport Policy. What we are here for today is the beginning of a workshop that will show how nations can articulate and formulate their own National Maritime Transport Policy.
“So these professionals from the WMU in Sweden are here to teach us how we can articulate and formulate that very important document,” he said.
On the gaps noticed in the NTP, Peterside noted that there is no disputing the fact that the NTP is a holistic document, which caters for air transport, land transport, pipe transport, rail transport and water transport, but the National Maritime Transport Policy will focus only on maritime transportation.
“So when you are addressing issues concerning safety, you won’t need to be looking at safety on a broad transport position basis, which will include other forms of transport; you will solely focus on safety in Nigeria’s maritime sector.
“The National Maritime Transport Policy will show you the minimum accepted standards of safety in the maritime sector. If you are going to be talking about the interconnectivity of the maritime sector, there are many things you are going to be talking about that cannot be captured in a document like the NTP because it is an omnibus document. But the National Maritime Transport Policy will capture everything you will need on interconnectivity.
“So whatever gaps have been noticed in the NTP will be addressed in the National Maritime Transport Policy, which is going to be a sub-set of a bigger NTP,” he said.
In his remarks, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, who was represented at the event by the IMO Head, Africa Section, Technical Cooperation Division, Mr. William Azuh, stated that promotion and development of national policies to guide planning, decision making and relevant legislative actions is an important governance practice of many governments, including Nigeria.
“We will support NIMASA in developing a sustainable maritime transport system reflecting and balancing the interests of stakeholders with a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy, which is crucial in serving as a fundamental guidance document to provide a long-term sustainable vision for the future of the Nigerian maritime sector,” Lim said.