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NIMASA: Task Before Dr. Jamoh

-By Benjamin Ike and Adeniyi Onifade

The appointment of Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh as the new Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) which was announced in early March following the expiration of the four-year tenure of Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside did not come to credible insiders as a surprise.

According to sources, President Muhammadu Buhari decided to appoint an insider for the first time in the history of the apex regulatory agency. Dr. Bashir jamoh’s appointment fits this bill and more. His competence, capacity and external influence would engender the necessary growth and development of the Agency.

Dr. Jamoh who takes over from Dr. Peterside was the immediate past Executive Director of Finance and Administration. He comes on board with over 27 years experience with NIMASA having spent more than 15 years at management level and the last three years as the Executive Director. He has been privileged to serve in several operations and administrative departments in NIMASA in the course of his service.

Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, D-G of NIMASA

A thoroughbred technocrat, Dr. Jamoh has a Ph.D from the University of Port Harcourt, specializing in Logistics and Transport Management, a Master’s degree in Management from Korea Maritime and Ocean university, Postgraduate Diploma in Management Sciences from Bayero University Kano, a Professional Certificate in Materials Management from the Institute of Logistics in the United Kingdom and a Diploma in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has also attended management courses at the Said Business School, Oxford University, UK as well as the Institute of Public Partnerships in Washington DC, USA.
Dr. Jamoh joined the employment of the then National Maritime Authority (NMA) in 1994 when he transferred his services from the Kaduna State Government.

As the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Dr. Jamoh was instrumental to the successes recorded by the Dr. Peterside led administration from 2016 to March 2020. During this period, they were able to impact positively on staff welfare through regular promotion exercises, increased staff trainings, improved medical initiatives, automation of the Agency’s process (which has reached an advanced stage) as well as documentation of all internal policies into a single compendium – all of which were under the direct purview of Dr. Jamoh.
That Executive Management team was also able to improve the reputation of the Agency as being alive to its responsibilities and tackle the issues of insecurity in the maritime industry through the Deep Blue Project with some critical assets already procured. They were also able to engender greater awareness on the benefits of the Blue Economy to the country, increase stakeholders’ engagement and also put Nigeria on the global stage with the Agency heading the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA).

Dr. Dakuku Peterside’s tenure had its own share of challenges most of which pitched him against the nation’s lawmakers, and Agency’s stakeholders. One of such challenges was when the House of Representatives summoned Dr. Peterside for allegedly failing to audit the Agency’s account for six years. Similarly, stakeholders were also unhappy with Dr. Peterside for his inability to cause the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to enable operators refleet or dry dock existing vessels to make them more competitive.

In fact some of these are the low hanging fruits that Dr. Jamoh will need to deal with immediately after settling down. His appointment comes with a lot of goodwill amongst industry stakeholders who have roundly applauded it as ‘a round peg in a round hole’. To maintain that goodwill therefore, he will need to hit the ground running on these issues.

Valuechain enquiry further revealed that the new Director-General has a herculean task ahead of him in consolidating the achievements and strengthening the weaknesses of his predecessor. Dr. Jamoh’s major strength is his network of influence among the local and foreign maritime stakeholders. However, one crucial aspect that he should not take for granted is his internal stakeholders. As the first Director General that was appointed from within, it behoves on Dr. Jamoh to ensure that the welfare of staff, who are the Agency’s most prized assets is guaranteed. He is also considered to be in a better position to inspire and motivate internal workforce to perhaps, unprecedented achievements.
Dr. Jamoh will also need to swiftly deal with the security situation in Nigerian maritime domain and indeed the Gulf of Guinea which has dented the reputation of Nigeria and negatively impacted its economy. The fact that most insurance companies charge “war risk premium” on cargo coming into Nigeria has further increased the cost of goods. The new DG will do well to partner security agencies and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea to stamp out this scourge once and for all.

Cadets of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) a brain child of NIMASA which is aimed at bridging the gap of the dearth of seafarers must be considered for the mandatory seatime training. Valuechain checks revealed that the past administration made some efforts in this regard but yet the number of cadets without seatime training is still high. Prioritising seatime training for this group of cadets would have a multiplier effect on the industry in terms of employment and wealth creation.

There is evidence that Dr. Jamoh is well disposed to taking the Agency to greater heights. Speaking during the valedictory/handover ceremony, the new Director-General noted that “government is a continuum and we shall hit the ground running immediately. We shall study Dr. Peterside’s handover notes diligently to ensure continuity of leadership for the sector. We shall also listen and engage more deeply and frequently with all our stakeholders both internal and external and we will find time to address issues and make projections soon”.

It is the hope of all stakeholders that Dr. Jamoh’s tenure will witness unprecedented development in the maritime industry in Nigeria for the benefit of all.

The 56 year old NIMASA Chief Executive Officer is a Fellow and current President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA). Dr. Jamoh also holds membership of other Professional Associations including the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport as well as the Institute of Maritime Economists (Canada).
He is the author of the book “Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets: Past, Present and Future”.