Maritime nations all over the world evolve strategies and methodologies of modernising ship registry for the purpose of enhancing national tonnage.
In the pursuit of goal tonnage enhancement and transformation, nations adopt cut-edge technology both direct and indirect marketing of the national flag and other known effective methods in their registration of vessels.
Of course, every maritime country however adopt strategies that influence specific objectives of the country and such objectives are not expected to threaten the interest of global maritime.
Besides the drive for local tonnage to achieve desired goal, the maritime nation players have also adopted systems of close or open registry of vessels. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by the statute establishing it is responsible for organising, shipping activities and development. It was in consonance of this that late 2008, NIMASA made its intention known to the registration of ships in Nigeria.
The Nigerian ship registration office performs flag state responsibilities of NIMASA, as enshrined in Section 16 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 2007. Section 28 (2) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act, 2007 also established the office of the registrar of ship and that of the deputy registrar of ship.
The NIMASA ship registry unit conducts all flag registration duty from the head office location of the agency as guaranteed in its regulation.
NIMASA Act of 2007, in accordance with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) global practices, anticipates the efficiency of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office especially when operators can access the services from other operational location.
The creation of the office of the deputy registrars of ship, many believe is a demonstration of the agency’s commitment to structure the Nigerian ship registration office to reflect the changing trend in the modern international maritime operations.
The decision of the Agency to formally establish ship registration desks in Warri and Calabar was to complement registration service offered from Lagos and Port Harcourt as provided in the NIMASA Act of 2007.
By this development, the ship registration service in Nigeria have been taken to the door steps of vessel owners, even as it enables Nigerians in diaspora to take advantage of the increased accessibility offered by the decentralisation through any of the mentioned locations to fly the Nigerian flag.
Preliminary modernisation programmes and measures taken by the agency have resulted in the electronic up-load of over 3,200 vessels of different categories of data being integrated to the web link of the agency. Daily vessel registration details are transferred electronically to the data base with the aim of updating available web information.
NIMASA’s modernisation and transformation programmes could also be appreciated in the area of mutual sharing of vessels details between the agency and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The information sharing approach influences the NNPC and other international oil companies for Nigerian flagged vessels in the award of contract in the current cabotage regime.
The benefits for registration and decentralisation services include enhanced access to registration service, reduced cost of logistics particularly for up-country vessel owners and fast tracked vessels registration process amongst others.
Nigerian ship registration office has also developed relevant templates to guide applicants on-line. On completion of the automation process, applicants are expected to download relevant ship registration forms, upload required documents for vessels registration, effect payment of registration via an on-line payment engine as well as take delivery of provisional certificates of registry on-line.
However, the modernisation of the ship registration process has been extended to cabotage registration. Subject to applicant’s submission of all documents, the Nigerian ship registration office developed on-line templates to achieve cabotage registration of vessels in 48 hours.
The deployment of multi-skilled human capital by NIMASA is another strategy for meeting the technical, administrative and legal requirement. This move informed NIMASA to articulate a “Fly Nigeria” initiative embodying the genuine principles of safety, as a condition for flying the Nigerian flag.
The overall end result of the modernisation and transformation programme is the reformation of processes and procedures of flag state toward promoting efficiency and unparallel advisory services to the external public of the Nigerian ship registration office. Even at times, the Agency has not relented at directing its efforts at professionalising the ship registry as critical vehicle for service efficiency.
Staff of the registry office visit some foreign ship registries, including the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency of the United Kingdom and the Singaporean ship registry office as part of efforts to update knowledge and enhance service delivery.
Similarly, working attachments to the Panama, Hellenic and Malaysian ship registry was also pursued towards full professionalisation of the ship registry, to expose staff of Nigerian ship registry office to challenges of an ICT driven registration services.
Demonstrating commitment to global maritime safety, NIMASA’s efforts to approve the America-Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas and Lloyds registry among others was seen as a welcome development to classify societies for conventional vessels of 500 tonnes and above.
Although much efforts have been made by the agency towards the transformation and modernisation of Nigerian ship registry, even as it was committed to eliminate delay of the past and engender new culture of professionalism and efficiency in service delivery, a lot more is needed to attain and sustain full transformation and modernisation of Nigeria flag ship registration.
In this era of cabotage, and with the quest to be one of the leading maritime nations, it may not be out of place for Nigeria to shift from theories to actual accomplishment goals in this direction.
The international players are on the watch to se Nigeria totally transformed and modernise her flag vessel registry, and the task is before NIMASA.
FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.
FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.
LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation
The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.
By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
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