Lagos – The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has said that the maritime sector is the soul of the Nigerian economy.
Peterside said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos by the Head, Public Relations Department of NIMASA, Hajia LamiTumaka.
According to the statement, the director-general spoke at a workshop on “Local Content Implementation in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry: A Cost Reduction Strategy’’.
The statement said that the workshop was organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) at the sideline of the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas.
Peterside said that the oil and gas sector was often referred to as the heart of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “Without taking cognisance of the fact that the maritime sector remains the soul of the economy without which oil and gas exploration may just be in vain.’’
According to the director-general, most of the oil and gas exploration, which is the major revenue earner of the country, is done in the maritime environment.
He said that vessels were needed to transport these products from one point to the other, making the maritime sector integral to the whole economic process.
Peterside presented a paper titled “Local Content and Cabotage Regime Implementation in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry As A Cost Reduction Strategy’’.
He noted that, “The oil and gas industry in Nigeria will not truly develop unless the maritime sector grows with it.’’
He urged investors to commit more resources to building local content in the maritime industry.
The director-general assured operators that it was in their interest to build local capacity, adding that an investment in this regard would certainly be mutually beneficial to all parties.
Peterside expressed concern that NIMASA as a strategic agency of government had been grossly misunderstood.
He assured stakeholders of the commitment of the new management to not only engender the development of local content in the maritime industry but also push for the review of the Cabotage Act to make it more beneficial to Nigerians.
The director-general decried the situation where all Nigeria’s oil and gas resources were transported by foreign vessels.
He urged International Oil Companies (IOCs) to engage eligible Nigerians in the lifting of the country’s hydrocarbons and promised to assist in building the capacity of indigenous operators to participate more actively in moving Nigeria’s oil and gas resources.
Peterside also assured operators in the oil and gas sector that more than ever before, NIMASA was ready to enforce its statutory responsibilities especially in the area of preserving and protecting the marine environment from the adverse impact of oil exploration and other commercial activities.
He warned that the Agency would no longer tolerate a situation where IOCs renege on the payment of levies due to the agency as enshrined in its enabling instruments.