Within the last 3 years, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has witnessed a remarkable turnaround that has made Nigeria to begin to play big in the Maritime world once again. And in the past 2 years, NIMASA has become the darling of the Buhari government because of its huge contributions to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Because of the recession, triggered by declining oil prices, the Buhari administration chose an aggressive diversification route, to sustain the economy. Over the last 3 years, the focus has been to revive agriculture and local industry, as part of efforts to diversify government revenue. But there are those who feel that the key to the country’s diversification strategy lies with the Maritime industry, where opportunities for growth are huge and diverse.
City People gathered that since March 2016, when Dr. Dakuku Peterside became DG of NIMASA, there has been considerable improvement in its revenues. And NIMASAs contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) has also increased.
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, confirmed this. At a workshop in Abuja last year she revealed how the Management of NIMASA under Peterside was able to generate more money in 6 months than it did in the 2 preceding years.
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, also said: “this was also the first time in recent years that NIMASA will remit huge revenue into government coffers.”
Since then, NIMASA has been receiving a lot of positive commentaries because of the efforts of the DG, the easy going Rivers politician. The reason is simple. He came in with a bold plan. When he came in, Dakuku Peterside instituted a medium term strategy through digital transformation to hasten processes at NIMASA.
The process allows stakeholders to register their vessels and conduct transactions digitally with a click of a button on their laptop. The swift automation of processes and devolution of power, with the creation of zone offices at NIMASA, has also reduced time spent and it has removed middlemen from the chain of transactions so much so that within 10 months, NIMASA had reduced the rate of sea accidents by 51 percent – a record that prompted countries like the United States to send envoys to the reinvigorated agency for partnership.
The agency has also been undergoing rebranding, in order to align it with other foremost maritime administrations in the world.
The recognition of the great ingenuity of Peterside occurred in April 2016 when NIMASA, in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), hosted the 3rd Conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) in Abuja. That established Nigeria’s leadership status in the continent’s maritime industry. Peterside was elected AAMA Chairman.
AAMA is a body charged with the responsibility of assisting and enhancing the capacity of maritime administrations in Africa in the adherence and implementation of IMO instruments. Once he took over, Peterside swung into action. Last July, Peterside, met with representatives of African countries at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), under the auspices of African Maritime Advisory Group (AMAAG) at the IMO Headquarters in London, where he charged them to work together to ensure Africa takes its rightful place in the global maritime community.
“Africa is a major stakeholder in maritime, so we must take our rightful place and that can only happen if we work together,” Peterside said.
He also positioned Africa as a continent ready to engage on equal terms with the rest of the world in the area of maritime businesses.
“What we are trying to do is to change the terms of engagement for the rest of the world in terms of maritime businesses. We want to operate on equal terms not lopsided terms against our own interest, thereby creating room for a mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.
As it is, Nigeria’s Maritime Industry now has a vigorous international presence, due to Peterside’s giant strides. Last July, as Chairman of AAMA, Peterside led a delegation of AAMA Executive Committee Members to the International Maritime Organisation’s headquarters in London, where they met with IMO’s Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, to seek increased representation of the continent on the IMO council.
Under Peterside, Nigeria is set to benefit from deep sea mining through effective harnessing of the opportunities stemming from working with the International Seabed Authority (ISBA).
We also gathered that Nigeria will soon take delivery of the 5th largest floating dock in Africa. As part of the efforts to ease doing business in Nigeria, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) have stepped up efforts to fast track investment entry into the country, among which is the commencement of a 24-hour ports operations.
“Nigeria has not only put the right infrastructure in place, but has put the right regulatory regime and also a set of incentives to make us a hub,” Peterside said. “So, talk about stability, you can say Nigeria has it, and the government is also working on intermodal transport system to facilitate the ease of doing business and of course good regulatory regime.”
Peterside’s excellent stewardship of NIMASA is a reminder of his impressive leadership past.
This is a guy born into a middle-class family in Biriye Polo, Opobo. He grew up in Abia, Kaduna and Rivers States. In the 1980s, he attended Okrika Grammar School, one of the pre-eminent public schools in Rivers State, where he served as a school prefect, a role acquired through his impeccable conduct, leadership qualities and academic standing.
It was this same character trait he exhibited at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUT), where he earned his first degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences, before acquiring a Post Graduate Diploma and Masters Degree in Business Administration. Proceeding from RSUT, where he was an outstanding student union leader who fought for hope, he also attended the University of Port Harcourt, Georgia State University, Atlanta and Harvard University. He is equally a member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria (IMCN) and a member of the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences of Nigeria.
His sojourn into state politics began when he was elected Local Government Chairman of Opobo-Nkoro in 2002, where he was declared The Most Outstanding Chairman by the then Rivers government. He then held several executive portfolios, serving at a time as Rivers State Commissioner of Works and the Executive Director of a development and leadership institute.
Peterside was elected to represent Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Area in the House of Representatives in 2011-2015. While in the lower chamber he served as Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), where he had the oversight responsibility on strategic national oil and gas establishments such as Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
He also served in the House Committees on Anti-corruption, National Ethics and Values, Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes; Co-operation and Integration in Africa, Electoral Matters; Industry; Communications and Works – a multifaceted work experience that prepared him for his present role at NIMASA.
So it is no surprise, why such a goal-driven man like him has succeeded over the last 2 years in putting Nigeria’s maritime industry on the high pedestal it is today..