*Reaches Agreement on Research and Training
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has begun a review of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
The NSDP which was initiated by NIMASA during the administration of Dr. Shamsudeen Ade Dosunmu and given unprecedented attention during the administration of Dr. Patrick Ziakiade Akpobolokemi as Director Generals entails the sponsorship of qualified Nigerians to selected maritime training institutions overseas to be trained as seafarers up to the level of their acquisition of certificate of competency (CoC).
However, in recent times, participants in the programme have been embroiled in protests over the non-payment of their fees amidst other complaints.
Apparently compelled by the downturn in the economy, the agency said is currently reviewing the cost of direct sponsorship of the programme.
The agency which confirmed the development in a statement issued in Lagos and made available to Maritime Bits quoted the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh saying that the review of ongoing sponsorship cost has become necessary due to the global inflationary trends which is very pronounced in the Philippines, India and some other countries where Nigerian cadets are undergoing CoC training under the NSDP programme.
Jamoh disclosed that the sponsorship of the cadets covers training leading to obtaining a CoC.
His words: “We are not unmindful of the unforeseen global inflationary trend which has affected the cost of sustaining our cadets who are on sponsorship in some schools under the NSDP. Though NIMASA paid the tuition fee, examination fee and the original cost of feeding and accommodation in full, with allowance for extra funds as pocket money, however, it’s obvious that cost of living has increased particularly in the Philippines due to the global inflation. The agency is working closely with the Nigerian Embassy in the Philippines to address the challenges associated with the unexpected price increases.
“We have put in place immediate and long term arrangements to minimize the effect of inflation on their living standard during the programme. The management of the agency has approved an additional $2,000 dollars for each cadet, as extra fund due to inflation. This is a short term measure to cushion the effect. I am sure the Nigerian Embassy will get in touch with the students immediately the funds are ready to be disbursed. It is a well-coordinated arrangement through the embassy”.
Continuing, the NIMASA helmsman said: “While working closely with the Nigerian Embassy in the Philippines to establish appropriate extra funds that may be required, NIMASA management is deploying a team on fact finding to interact with the students currently in the Philippines, officials of the Nigerian Embassy, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippines, some Licensure Examination Training and Review Centres (TRCs). 146 cadets have acquired the Philippines sailing license through the NSDP with 134 currently undergoing the programme and a further 170 being prepared to proceed The statement which was signed by NIMASA Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie also quoted Jamoh saying that the agency has also made firm arrangements to ensure those cadets who have spent the stipulated 6 months approved for the CoC in the Philippines return home immediately. NIMASA urged the cadets to ensure they conclude their CoC examinations as scheduled.
The NSDP kicked off in 2008 with the aim of addressing the dearth of Nigerian seafarers on ocean going vessels and the need to meet the indigenous manning requirements of coastal and inland shipping (cabotage regime).
The programme is designed to train Nigerian youth to become seafarers and Naval Architects in some of the best maritime training institutions (MTIs) across the world.
Not less 2,241 cadets has so far been trained from inception of the programme with 841 graduates having obtained sailing licenses (CoC) from maritime administrations of various countries. Out of this number, around 388 are now gainfully employed in maritime related organizations, while others are in their final stages of the Programme.
Meanwhile, NIMASA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria, Kaduna State on research and training towards enhancing maritime safety and security in Nigeria.
The Director General NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh and his counterpart at the NITT, Dr. Bayero Salih Farah, signed the MoU recently which is hinged on research and training, with a view to enhancing local content and boosting the quality assurance of the institute.
This is a follow up on earlier agreements reached between both agencies of government in their quest to further domesticate specialized training programmes at management cadre in the maritime sector.
Jamoh described the MoU between both parties as a mutually beneficial partnership, aimed at supporting the core mandate of the NITT while also in line with his administration’s commitment to capacity building for NIMASA staff.
“The MoU is to formalize and strengthen the existing relationship between NIMASA and the NITT in terms of research, training and capacity development in general. We appreciate your visit to NIMASA sometime ago and we are glad that much progress is being made in terms of our collaboration”. We hope that your institute willconduct detailed research to determine gaps in the implementation of our core mandate and develop training programs to close such identified gaps”, he said.
Farah on his part thanked NIMASA for its longstanding support to the institute through direct financial assistance and by utilizing the training services provided for the agency’s staff over the years.
He added that the NITT will work closely with NIMASA to ensure that the institute provides training and research services that are of globally acceptable standard.
NITT provides trainings to personnel employed in all modes of transport, leading to the award of various certificates; Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Transport and Logistics.
NIMASA has continued to embrace capacity building as a tool to enhance maritime development in Nigeria, while also engaging in all forms of viable collaborations towards achieving its mandate, which cuts across shipping development, maritime safety and maritime security.