Face off Imminent as Dakuku Warn IOCs to Sit Up or Stay Out
“You must give us ample notice of vessel requirements so that we can engage indigenous operators who have the capacity to do the job instead of giving it to foreign operators”.
International Oil Companies, IOCs such as Shell Chevron, Mobil and others have been doing business in Africa for decades. While their contributions to regional development is acknowledged, the adverse impact of their operations on the environment and lives of the people remain issues of international discuss globally.
Very often, disregard for local laws, environmental degradation, non-compliance to national requirements and flagrant flouting of operational guidelines are issues which IOCs are entangled in.
As Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, stands up to enforce provisions of the NIMASA Act, another round of corporate off may be imminent in the maritime industry.
At a meeting with management team of some IOCs held in Lagos to seek ways of fostering a closer synergy towards Nigeria’s economic development, the NIMASA boss stated categorically that his Agency will no longer tolerate any disregard for Cabotage and environmental laws by the IOCs operating in Nigeria. He also charged them to be mindful of all existing laws and regulations in the discharge of their duties as applicable sanctions will be meted out to erring companies.
Dakuku highlighted areas of interest to NIMASA to include the flouting of Cabotage law, negative impact to the environment from oil exploration activities, none payment of statutory levies to the government and inadequate information sharing.
He also stated that a situation where the IOCs engage foreign vessels to do jobs that Nigerian operators have adequate capacity and equipment to do will no longer be tolerated as this has been a major bane in the development of Nigeria’s shipping industry.
The NIMASA Director General directed the IOCs that henceforth “you must give us ample notice of vessel requirements so that we can engage indigenous operators who have the capacity to do the job instead of giving it to foreign operators. The spirit of the Cabotage Act is not to generate revenue in terms of waivers but to build the requisite capacity for indigenous players which will in the long run generate wealth and create employment for Nigeria’s teeming population”.
while commending the IOCs for their compliance level with payment of statutory levies so far, he observed that the argument on the payment of Cabotage levies on Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSOs) facilities and other offshore platforms is unnecessary because “By our laws, FPSOs and other offshore platforms are Cabotage vessels that are subject to NIMASA’s regulation and payment of statutory levies” the DG said.
The DG called for closer synergy with the oil companies for the benefit of Nigeria even as he promised that the Agency will deepen its collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to enhance the capacities of indigenous operators in Nigeria’s maritime environment.
In his words,” whether you are into shipping or shipping related business, NIMASA has a role to play in ensuring that the business is done seamlessly without security risk and not at the detriment of the Nigerian state. Therefore, there is the need for you to cooperate with NIMASA especially in the area of information sharing”.
Dakuku revealed that the new NIMASA under his watch is committed to raising a high level of service delivery. He called on all key players to cooperate with the Agency by sharing relevant information that would assist the Agency in carrying out its statutory responsibilities.
Nonetheless, he was emphatic that the era of some of the IOCs carrying out their businesses in violation of Nigeria’s laws especially as regards Cabotage and the environment is over. In his words “we will not fold our arms and watch while you do damage to our environment because environmental pollution is life threatening”.