Minister of State for Transportation, Sen Gemisola Saraki, has expressed concern over the delay in remittance of appropriate funds by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria MAN Oron in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking during an inspection tour and inauguration of projects at the Academy on Thursday, Saraki said the manner of disbursement of the statutory funding from NIMASA to the Academy is currently not working.
She said the ministry and NIMASA would soon dialogue on the best way forward so that the perennial complaint of non-remittance, under remittance or delayed remittance to the Academy would be holistically dealt with once and for all.
She said, “Very soon, you will all hear how we are going to handle the issue of prompt release of the statutory five percent funding from NIMASA to the Maritime Academy.
“There has been a misunderstanding for long over the issue of five percent from NIMASA to the Academy. There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of NIMASA on how those funds should be given. The fund is not supposed to be released at NIMASA’s pleasure. It should not be that NIMASA will dictate how and when the money should be released. It is not for NIMASA to oversight the release of the funding. That should be the Federal Ministry of Transportation’s headache. The law says NIMASA should give X amount to the Maritime Academy quarterly.
“We will be looking at the system and see how it’s been done because obviously, the way NIMASA is handling it is currently not working.
“We will not allow a situation where the Academy will have to go begging before the five percent funding is released. We will be looking at finding a way to ensure that this ridiculous problem go away.”
On the nature of courses being run by the Academy, the Minister of State for Transportation explained that the visit was put together to see how the courses being run by the Academy can be improved.
“The whole point of today’s visit is to see how we can improve the school curriculum and the courses that they offer. I am here to discuss with everybody to see how we can improve the school, and that is why I came with the Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, Honourable Lynda Ikpeazu.
“On seafarers training, currently the Philippines are global leaders for now. However, with what is happening at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria as of today, we want to dominate in the area of seafaring provision on the African continent.
“We are looking at the number of seafarers that we are training and how we can dominate the profession in Africa. Yes, the Philippines are global leaders in the world right now, but with what is happening at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, we want to dominate the African continent in terms of seafarers provision.
“We have competitions in the sub-region. We have Ghana, Togo and others. We want to dominate provision of seafarers in the continent, and we cannot afford to rest on our oars.”