By Godwin Oritse
A former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Adegboyega Dosunmu, has said that the suggested merger of the Agency with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would spell doom for both the maritime industry and the nation’s economy.
He also condemned the erroneous classification of NIMASA as a revenue generating agency, saying that the Agency is just responsible for regulating shipping activities in Nigeria with a view to achieving safer shipping and cleaner oceans as mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) through its various Conventions and Protocols.
He explained that the Agency also has responsibility for development of indigenous shipping capacity in the country.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Advisory Council had expressed the view that the three agencies should be merged into the Nigerian Revenue Services in order to aid the collection of all direct and indirect taxes and levies on behalf of the federal government.
In a statement, Dosunmu said that merging NIMASA with the Customs and FIRS would be dangerous for the future of shipping and maritime industry in Nigeria.
He stated: “It is my humble position that the emphasis of the government should be on how to strengthen NIMASA to deliver more on its technical mandates and not merging it with agencies that are not compatible with its philosophy and objectives.
“I can say the proposal, in my view, is like suggesting a merger of the Nigerian Navy with Nigeria Civil Defense because the latter has responsibility for protecting critical national assets.
“For instance, technically speaking, all ships that call on Nigeria waters carry a minimum of five certificates which include certificate on safety equipment, certificate on radio equipment, and
certificate on crewing etc.
“These certificates are carried by all ships calling on ports globally. NIMASA Surveyors, under its port states responsibility must board these ships to ensure compliance with global requirements.
“NIMASA also carries out flag state inspection on all ships before they are registered to determine their fitness for purpose. In this regard, the ships are subjected to pre-registration survey and condition survey”.
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