THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the House of Representative Committee on Maritime Education, Safety and Administration on Wednesday openly disagreed over the performance of the 2017 appropriation budget of the agency.
Speaking on Wednesday during an oversight visit of the committee to NIMASA, the Chairman of the committee. Hon. Muhammed Umar Bago threatened zero allocation to the agency in 2018 if its 2017 capital budget is not fully expended.
According to Bago, “It’s a shame if we give NIMASA money to spend on appropriation and because of bureaucratic acumen, they are unable to spend it. So, they shouldn’t expect us to give them money next time and we have pledged as a committee and as a parliament that anyone we give resources to spend and did not, we will only give in the next appropriation the percentage of what it spent in the previous year, and I have threatened NIMASA I will give them zero allocation in 2018 if they don’t spend money allocated for 2017.”
But, in a swift reaction, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside disagreed with the committee Chairman saying the agency has expended 80 percent of its allocation on the capital project.
In the words of the NIMASA DG, “I think we didn’t quite get the Chairman. We have made over 80 percent accomplishment of the capital budget provision, though we have challenges in few because we have to go through the regimented procurement process but I believe that we should be able to get to 100 percent, and if we can’t get to 100 percent, with 80 percent accomplishment we have done our best.”
The NIMASA DG also spoke on the Chairman’s complain about the nation’s porous exclusive Economic Zone and trading by foreign vessels, revealing that initiatives have been deployed to enhance the security of the nation’s territorial water including the EEZ.
“He said we should step up coastal security and recall that lot of initiatives have been put in place and one of them is the one approved by the FEC called the Presidential maritime security intervention where we are supposed to acquire a lot of assets and work with the Nigerian Navy and Airforce to enhance the patrol of our waterways.
“The project is on course and once we commence full implementation, it will yield the desired result. We are pursuing early passage of the anti-piracy bill that will criminalise maritime crimes. We have also invested in maritime intelligence gathering in our maritime surveillance gathering and we are close to integrating the satellite surveillance system in the Navy falcon.
“We have improved on the intelligence gathering. We have improved enforcement and working closely with the Navy and renewed our MoU with the Airforce. He suggested that we should engage more platform and we are doing that. We have done tremendous improvement in coastal security. We have taken note of the suggestions and we will continue to invest our time and talent in improving coastal patrol,” the NIMASA DG added.
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