The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), was not set up to generate revenue but as a regulator of maritime safety and security on the nation’s coastal water.
The minister who disclosed this at the weekend at the final session of the 5-day National Council on Transportation (NCT) event, held in Kano State, said it was the NPA that should generate money for the government and not NIMASA.
The minister maintained that generating revenue is not enshrined in the Act establishing the agency, and urged that the agency should focus on being a regulatory authority on issues of safety and security of the nation’s waterways.
The minister said, “People put NIMASA under pressure that they must make money, make money for what? NIMASA actually is a regulatory authority, not for them to go and look for money”.
According to him: “The agency that should be making money and they must hear it now is NPA. It is their responsibility to make money.” He, therefore, enjoined the agency to “focus on being a regulatory authority on issues of safety and security of our waterways”.
While expressing dismay over the inability to convene the NCT for the past three years due to the economic downturn and advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister assured that critical decisions bordering on transportation will be addressed at the summit.
“Transportation is essential to sustainable development as it enables access to employment, business, education, health services and social interactions. The prosperity and well-being of the developing and developed world are inseparably linked to transport as such, President Muhammadu Buhari has made issues relating to transportation as top priorities of his administration”, he said.
On the state of the Dala Inland Dry Port, the minister said the federal government will not commission the project if he does not see a completed primary school offering free education to the many out-of-school children in the area.
“I want NSC to note this because that’s the agreement we had with the concessionaire. Shippers’ Council, you can charge whatever you want to charge for the dry port but part of the profit that they make in the dry port will go to the upbringing of those children”.
The permanent secretary, federal ministry of transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, read the address of the minister of state for transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, who was unavoidably absent.
According to Saraki, “Since the last time the Council met, Nigeria has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA). The ratification of the AfCTA is a new dawn with significantly positive ramifications for our collective future.”
In addition, she said Nigeria has an “opportunity to leverage its geographical position, its large domestic market and industrial capacity to become the transportation hub for Africa, but this prize will not be easily won and there is much work to do to actualise this potential. It will require smart, rigorous, foresighted planning and swift, diligent execution across all modes of transportation”.