Nigeria Could Earn Over $6m From Export of Seafarers, says Kuku

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – Special adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Hon KIngsley Kuku said yesterday that Nigeria could earn more than six billion dollars annually if it exports seafarers to other countries of the world to facilitate maritime related activities, insisting that until a radical and aggressive capacity building programmes for training of maritime professionals are put in place for youths, the country could not sufficiently meet the local content requirement in the sector.


Kuku explained that one of the ways Nigeria could bridge the gap in the requirement of indigenous professionals in the maritime sector, is for government to continue to develop capacity in the field by sending more youths outside the country for training, such that in a few years time, it could rival the feat of countries like Phillipines, which parades itself as one of the countries in the world that export the highest number seafarers that service the global maritime industry.


Speaking at the send-off ceremony for 525 qualified student cadets and ratings facilitated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA), at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre in Apapa, Lagos, Kuku explained the training programme facilitated by NiMASA is a manifestation of the desire of government to enhance the capacity of youths to close the widening gap in the demand for indigenous professionals in the maritime sector.


He urged the youths to utilise the opportunity created by the training to enhance their lot, as part of the capacity development programme of government.


He spoke of plans by the Presidential Amnesty Office, for which he is chairman to forge closer ties with NIMASA for the training of Nigerian youths in the maritime sector, even as he said NIMASA created the template for the curriculum of training for youths in the Niger Delta region for the amnesty programme.


He explained that In the last fifteen years, Nigeria has failed abysmally to place enough persons in prescribed training courses leading up to obtaining International Seafarers Certifications. Kuku said : " So, in spite of a well-intended cabotage law, we remain unable to exploit the huge potential in this strategic and extremely viable sub-sector of our economy.This extremely embarrassing lapse brings me to my other interest in Seafaring. With the staunch backing of NIMASA, the Presidential Amnesty Office is resolute and determined to help remedy this huge paucity in seafaring manpower in Nigeria.


In the last two years alone, the Amnesty Office has completed the training of 742 Niger Delta youths in several fields in the critical maritime sector. 428 others are still in training. Of this total number 67 youths were placed in Seafaring programmes. They are in first class facilities in the United States of America, Vietnam, Italy, Poland, Ghana and here in Nigeria.


NIMASA and the Amnesty Office must collectively confront in our common bid to groom a generation of seafarers in the shortest time possible. I am talking about the challenging of putting our Seafaring trainees in vessels to gain the mandatory sea time rating to earn them international certification as able seamen and true seafarers."


He said further : " The Amnesty Office trusts that NIMASA will continue to doggedly enforce all extant carbotage laws to compel vessels entering our shores and doing business in Nigeria to take in young Nigerian Seafarers. NIMASA must insist on the severest punishment or penalty for Operators and owners of these vessels who fail to comply with aspects of our carbotage laws that seek to encourage sea time experience for Nigerian Seafarers.


He spoke of plans to partner with NIMASA to train and internationally certify a new generation of Nigerian Seafarers who will fill the huge vacuum that currently exists in our nation’s maritime sector and in the process buoy our fledgling economy.


Like NIMASA, the Presidential Amnesty Office aspires to help Nigeria meet its quota of well trained and exposed Seafarers and possibly export several others to other countries of the world like the Republic of Philippines, which currently supplies over 30 per cent of the world’s seafarer needs by exporting over 300,000 seafarers to the international shipping labour market.
If the Philippines can earn as much as $6 billion annually as remittances from seafarers export, Nigeria can by 2020 earn even a higher amount from remittances from the export of the skills of the youths."


*Photo CaptionHon KIngsley Kuku

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