Maritime stakeholders under Women in Maritime Africa have decried difficulties in registering vessels and barges in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Chapter Chairman of WIMA, Mrs Rollen Macfoy, said this on Thursday in Apapa, Lagos, during a press conference themed, ‘The marine & blue economy ministry-A call for heedfulness’.
Speaking on the agenda for the new Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, she urged the minister to address the issue of ease of doing business, and ensure a reduction in the cost of doing business.
According to her, barge owners were subjected to multiple registrations with different agencies including the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Shippers Council, and the National Inland Waterways Authority among others.
Macfoy added that multiple registrations would affect the cost of doing business, which would finally be transferred to the common man in the street.
She said, “The agenda we have for the new minister is so numerous but let me mention a few; one is the ease of doing business. It is the A-Z of any economy. In a situation where it is so difficult to register barges, it is so difficult to register barges up till the last time I checked, barge owners register with the NSC, NIMASA, NPA, and NIWA, and all these things are money.
“Why can’t we register with one agency and then avail other agencies the copy of the registration copies, this will enable the operators to have a soft landing. With all these multiple registrations, the end users bear it all because of all the cost we go to them.”
Macfoy also urged the minister to look at the issue of remuneration for Nigerian seafarers with the view of ensuring that it meets global standards.
On the issue of the Cabottage Vessel Financing Fund, she said, “But if you ask me, as a person, I don’t advocate for that money to be shared, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, do not have any practicing vessels, School of Oceanography has no practicing vessel, children come out of school, we cannot take them because they do not have any experience.
“No place to even do cadetship. We used to have a national shipping line in those days that was absorbing these children.”